/ News / Curtis Mourns the Loss of Milton L. Rock, Longtime Board Member and Supporter

Curtis Mourns the Loss of Milton L. Rock, Longtime Board Member and Supporter

Milton L. RockCurtis learned on Saturday, January 27 that Milton L. Rock, an important member of the Curtis family, has passed away.

Milt, shown here with his wife Connie in 2016, leaves behind evidence of his devotion to the arts across Philadelphia, and Curtis is profoundly grateful for his deep, decades-long commitment to Curtis. Most recently, he was a member of the Mary Louise Curtis Bok Foundation Board of Directors, on which he served on for the past 11 years.

However he also played a pivotal role as chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1989–2002. Under his leadership, and working closely with his dear friend and Curtis president Gary Graffman, the school received its accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, began a reciprocal relationship with the University of Pennsylvania which students still enjoy today, established the Friends of Curtis, and began a careful effort to grow the endowment that included the Sound for the Century Campaign.

Milt’s support over the years shows his commitment not only to the arts, but to the students themselves. Curtis students benefit every time they enter the Rock Resource Center at 1720 Locust Street and use the ROC Online Catalog, which Milt played an essential role in bringing to fruition. Students also benefit from the Gary and Naomi Graffman Scholarship Fund, which he helped create, providing need-based student financial assistance. His generosity made possible not only the Rock Chair in Composition, which is held by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, but a student composition fellowship, which includes a commissioning opportunity to write a dance work to be performed by students of the Rock School for Dance Education.

This is just one example of how his impact expanded far beyond Curtis to affect all of Philadelphia. An emeritus member of the Philadelphia Orchestra Board of Trustees and former chairman of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Milt also served many years as a director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was a trustee of Temple University, which dedicated Rock Hall in recognition of his support.

Milt Rock will be missed profoundly by all who had the good fortune of knowing him during his life. Curtis extends its most heartfelt condolences to Connie, Bob, Caro, his grandchildren, and all other family and friends who are mourning his loss.

Find a full obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer here.