From the Desk of Trey Devey: A lifelong impact
Interlochen alumni are thriving in the arts and beyond.
This morning, campus is abuzz with the joyful sounds of parents greeting their children; faculty, staff, and volunteers cheering on our students; and those students celebrating one another as we kick off our end-of-year Festival showcase. Three whirlwind days of performances and presentations from all seven of our artistic disciplines will culminate in a commencement ceremony during which I will give our seniors and post-grads their last fist bump as students of Interlochen Arts Academy.
It’s an exciting time, where possibilities are endless, and the promise of new horizons is palpable. This new generation of creative changemakers is ready to immerse themselves in larger society; to lead important conversations about what it means to be an artist; to utilize the skills so carefully imparted to them by our faculty like Jean Gaede and Taoufik Nadji; and to make a tremendous impact in the arts and other professional fields.
I know that they are ready, because that’s what our alumni tell us.
Each year, we survey our alumni using the Diener Flourishing Scale to ensure the artistic, academic, and residential education they receive at Interlochen has helped them cultivate core capacities that positively impact their lives and, in turn, the world around them. This year’s results show that our alumni are indeed thriving in both relative and absolute measures. They feel "competent and capable," "contribute to the well-being of others," and "lead a purposeful and meaningful life." I've certainly felt this in my interactions with alumni from all walks of life.
The areas of growth most cited are in things like: self-confidence; maturity; work ethic; academics; ability to accept and learn from criticism; and time management. These crucial skills are required to succeed in a variety of different domains both within and beyond the arts. In fact, 15% of our alumni are currently employed in the medical, technology, and science fields—no doubt bringing a much-valued creative energy to their work.
What this tells me is that the world needs more Interlochen.
Our founder, Joseph Maddy, envisioned “one of the greatest institutions for the development of the arts that the world has ever seen”, but Interlochen has become so much more than that. Interlochen is internationally recognized for its immersive and comprehensive year-round arts education programs dedicated to young artists who develop confidence and find purpose within our creative community.
Our vision now is to achieve new levels of excellence while substantially expanding access: elevating the quality of our programs while also making them more affordable. Family, friends, alumni, and supporters are investing in this vision and helping us enhance excellence in our artistic and academic programs. Their gifts have allowed us to add four new faculty positions and bring more than a dozen visiting artists to campus, including Poetry editor Adrian Matejka; jazz pianist and R&B singer Patrice Rushen; singer-songwriter Claud; Broadway star Alexandra Silber (IAC 95-99, IAA 99-01), and more. We have a firm focus on increasing our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, which includes new indigenous people representation and support funds. We are committed to expanding touring opportunities, such as our recent trip to New York, during which 130 students not only performed at David Geffen Hall, but also worked with 15 creative youth development organizations. Next year, we will conclude our three year exploration of the African diaspora with the world premiere of Edmonia, and our students will begin production of a feature-length documentary film exploring the impact of regenerative agriculture in partnership with Greenacres Foundation.
Dedicated philanthropic support is helping make these initiatives possible, while also increasing access to an Interlochen education. Thanks to the continuation of partnerships with programs such as the Miami Music Project and the advent of the NY Phil Interlochen Scholars program, hundreds of students from underserved communities will attend Camp this summer on full-tuition scholarships. While we are grateful for these successes, we recognize that there is still work to do to achieve our goal of meeting the full demonstrated need of every admitted student—one of the pillars of Vision 2028.
This week provides an excellent example of the wonder, joy and transformative power of an Interlochen education. I encourage you to join me in our upcoming festivities, whether in-person or online, to celebrate this next generation of creative changemakers. Our commencement ceremony on Saturday will feature remarks from Elizabeth Marvel (IAC 82-83, IAA 83-87), who represents but one of the many extraordinary examples of the power of an Interlochen education.