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Oct. 5, 2021

Student view: An emblem of progress

Mengyao Zhao completed her doctorate in piano solo performance and is now working toward a second Doctorate of Musical Arts in collaborative piano in the College of Music. The following student view is repurposed content from Zhao’s remarks during the official opening of the Billman Music Pavilion.

When I applied for acceptance at Michigan State, I knew the university professors and staff would work diligently to meet all of my needs. Little did I realize how in-depth the support of the university would be.

I have watched the progression of this building from the lawn near where the Spartan Marching Band rehearsed to the beautiful building we dedicate today. I was afraid I would have to leave before it would be completed but, thanks to my husband’s work, I will remain in Michigan for a few years.

It is refreshing to celebrate this triumph today. The last year has been a struggle for the world, the nation and for the university. Through it all, the university has adapted, grown and become a closer, more caring community, which we can see here today.

This edifice adds 37,000 square feet to the existing music building and includes additional state-of-the-art rehearsal halls and recital halls as well as invitingly pleasant study and rest spaces. In accordance with the rapid advances in musical training and technology, the Billman Music Pavilion includes technologically advanced acoustical properties and insulation, which make each space sound beautiful and feel comfortable.

The highlight of the new building for me is the inclusion of the Steinway grand pianos to practice my art, a dream that can only be realized by a select few pianists.

On the surface, the Billman Music Pavilion is another building on campus. Yet, it is much more. There is an excitement and anticipation as students experience a new learning environment that is in tune with the growth and development of the musical arts. It provides a unique and intriguing perspective as musicians reach for their goals and objectives, and it enhances Michigan State University as it continually strives for excellence in higher education.

If we look at the expanse of the history of our university, it is incredible to realize where we are today as one of the most highly respected higher education institutions in the world with students and scholars from around the globe.

This new building is far more than an assemblage of concrete, paint and steel. It stands as an emblem of the progress MSU has made and the progress it will make.

As a representative of the thousands of students who have studied and will study here, I wish to thank you, the donors, for making this possible.

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