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DePaul University names John Milbauer dean of the School of Music

John Milbauer
John Milbauer, associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona, will serve as the dean of DePaul University's School of Music effective July 1. (Photo by Mindi Acosta)
CHICAGO — DePaul University Provost Salma Ghanem announced John Milbauer will serve as the dean of the School of Music​ effective July 1. Milbauer, a Steinway Artist who comes from the University of Arizona, brings almost 25 years of musical accomplishments and background, with performances throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe and awards from several prestigious organizations.

Milbauer is an established leader with demonstrated success in diversity, equity and inclusion, mission-driven development, and strategic planning. Demonstrating a lifelong interest in public policy in conjunction with the performing arts, he was named a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a master’s in public administration in 2020.

As the associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Fine Arts at Arizona, Milbauer is responsible for managing the retention, promotion and tenure processes for over 150 faculty, including mentoring faculty in purpose-driven career development. In addition to this work, Milbauer has collaborated to diversify the College of Fine Arts faculty, achieving a mark of 75% of tenure-eligible hires in 2022-23 from underrepresented communities. He has also implemented best practices in hiring and interviewing across the college.

Trained in piano performance with a doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music following study at Juilliard, Eastman and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Milbauer is a prolific artist who has performed in China, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and throughout the United States. His solo album featuring piano music by Debussy, Crumb, Adams and Bartók earned a Critics’ Choice award from American Record Guide.

“Dr. Milbauer’s passion for music and music education, background in piano performance, and leadership in arts education makes him an ideal choice for dean of the School of Music,” Ghanem said. “He also brings an impressive background in public administration and management that, combined with his other strengths, will be helpful in achieving the School of Music’s goals over the coming years.”

Milbauer has also served as the co-chair of the Chautauqua Piano Program at the Chautauqua Institution School of Music in New York since 2012. He and his colleagues have engaged in transformative work there, boldly shifting the paradigm of top summer teaching festivals toward inclusive excellence with tremendous success. He also helped lead the design and implementation of all aspects of the piano program including strategic planning, community engagement, faculty hiring and assessment, publicity, marketing, and development.

“I am thrilled and honored to join DePaul University as dean of the School of Music, an institution clearly poised for growth,” Milbauer said. “By centering imagination in our work, by exploring the intersection of access and excellence, and by developing a culture of artist-citizens who are endlessly curious about their engagement with society, we have the potential to lead the advancement of the musical arts in a more just world.”

At DePaul, Milbauer will propel the School of Music forward through strategic visioning and priorities built on the school’s existing excellence, develop financial opportunities for increased funding support for scholarships and be a dedicated advocate for attracting top student talent. He will also act as a tireless supporter of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice by supporting and contributing to existing initiatives and by identifying new ways to ensure a culture in which all are welcome and can thrive.

The School of Music is currently led by Dana Hall, who has served as interim dean since November 2022.

“During his time as interim dean, Dana has done a remarkable job leading the School of Music since his appointment,” Ghanem said. “Having been a student, faculty member and administrator in the School of Music since 2002, he has been a stabilizing force for the school during this time of transition, and I thank him for his work.”


Media Contact:
Russell Dorn