‘Good for the soul’: Jeremy Robb reflects on transformational experiences at Interlochen
Robb, an auto industry expert for Cox Automotive, shares his Interlochen story and explains why he chooses to give back as an Interlochen Evergreen.
When Jeremy Robb (IAC 94, IAA 94-96) arrived at Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer of 1994, he immediately realized he had a lot of work to do.
“The story I tell everybody is that there were 40 trumpets, and I was the 37th,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is a totally different ball game. There’s a lot of competition, a lot of room to grow, and a lot of people to learn from.’”
Despite his initial surprise at the level of talent, Robb quickly recognized that Interlochen was “an idyllic place.”
“I totally fell in love with Interlochen: its spirit, the campus, and all the faculty and students,” he said. “Interlochen allowed me—and everyone I knew—to be the best version of ourselves, constantly looking to improve our individual crafts while collectively working together.”
Eager to continue that improvement, Robb applied to Interlochen Arts Academy. At the end of the summer, he headed home to Tennessee knowing he’d been offered a place at the Academy—and knowing his family couldn’t afford to send him there. Three days before his senior year began, Robb was notified that he’d been awarded a scholarship.
“I was so fortunate to receive the financial support that I needed,” Robb said. “From that moment on, I was interested in giving back to Interlochen. I knew how special Interlochen was for me, and I wanted to help others experience Interlochen.”
Robb thrived at the Academy, honing his skills as a trumpeter and as a student.
“I had awesome experiences with the teachers at the Academy, whether it was my music teachers—my trumpet teacher in particular pushed me extremely hard—or the academic teachers,” he said. “One of the biggest things I learned at Interlochen was how to learn. It was good for development, it was great for social experiences, and it was good for my soul. It was a great environment to grow in—academically and musically.”
After Interlochen, Robb went on to study the trumpet at a conservatory. He soon felt a call to his interests beyond the arts, enrolling at Vanderbilt University as a double major in music and economics.
“It was a hard transition at first,” Robb said of his decision to pursue economics. “I hadn’t been as focused on that kind of learning for a couple of years. But I knew how to work from my time at Interlochen. I knew that if I put in the work, I would figure it out.”
After a ten-year career in the finance industry, Robb transitioned into the automotive industry. He currently serves as an auto industry expert for Cox Automotive, the world’s largest used car company. He frequently taps into the skills he honed at Interlochen in his work.
“What I learned at Interlochen has been instrumental to my career creating analytical solutions,” he said. “I use a lot of the creativity that I gained from my music background to do things other people in my field can’t do.”
Today, Robb honors his transformative experiences—and his own life-changing scholarship—by giving back to Interlochen. He is one of more than 200 supporters who have joined the Interlochen Evergreens, a giving program that provides sustainable, dependable revenue for scholarships and experiences through recurring gifts to the Interlochen Annual Fund. Together, these 200 Evergreen donors provide gifts totaling over $146,000 each year; those gifts provide access to Interlochen in the form of scholarships so that deserving young artists can hone their skills at Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy.
Robb says his decision to join the Interlochen Evergreens was inspired by both his passion for Interlochen and his background in the finance industry.
“As a finance person by trade, I like to plan out what I want to do and how I want to spend my money,” Robb said. “Giving to Interlochen means so much to me that I don't want it to be an afterthought. Through the Interlochen Evergreens, I’m able to be strategic in planning my gifts.”
Robb hopes that other Interlochen supporters, including other alumni who went on to pursue careers outside of the arts, will join him as Interlochen Evergreens. The Evergreens program, Robb believes, is an ideal way to ensure proud supporters include Interlochen among those organizations they support.
“You cannot separate what you learned at a young age from the progression to your adult life,” Robb said. “Whether you end up being a teacher, a dentist, a politician, or a data guy like me, the experiences we had at Interlochen were paramount in teaching us how to learn. For anyone affiliated with Interlochen—alumni, teachers, current students, parents—anything you can do to give others a chance to grow, flourish, and be part of Interlochen is a worthwhile investment.”
Want to join the Interlochen Evergreens? Visit interlochen.org/evergreens to set up your recurring gift.