Dr. Frederick C. Tillis Memorial Campaign

UMass Fine Arts Center Honors Dr. Frederick C. Tillis with Memorial Campaign

Dr. Frederick C. Tillis | 1930-2020

A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Dr. Frederick C. Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for over forty years. 

The University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center is launching a memorial campaign to build the Frederick C. Tillis Endowment for the Arts in support of future Fine Arts Center programming. Dr. Frederick C. Tillis' contributions to the University of Massachusetts were vast and momentous. It was Dr. Tillis that brought the Fine Arts Center to life as an organization, helping to jump start some of its most successful arts initiatives, including New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and its Jazz in July Summer Music Program. He served as the first long term Director of the Fine Arts Center for over twenty years building the FAC into the Pioneer Valley's largest and most comprehensive venue for the arts.  Upon his retirement, one of Dr. Tillis' dreams came to fruition: an endowment (named in his honor) to sustain the FAC's future programming. 


His passion for the arts and commitment to arts education made this community and the lives of all he touched richer and more expansive.  Dr. Tillis will always be held in high regard not only for his love of the arts but also for his love of humanity. He was an icon. He touched countless number of lives, nationally as well as internationally—students, colleagues, musicians, artists, patrons. We quickly all became his friends, his family.


Dr. Tillis had wished that the endowment surpass $500,000. We have undertaken this campaign to raise $100,000 to make his wish come true. As family, we welcome you to join us in this fundraising endeavor to further build upon Dr. Tillis' legacy. Despite this year's challenges, we remain dedicated to emerge with renewed energy surrounding these inspirational spaces where Dr. Tillis created a foundation to uplift the highest human expression. 


We so greatly appreciate your partnership at whatever level feels comfortable for you. Gifts can be directed to either The Frederick C. Tillis Endowment for the Arts or to the Fine Arts Center's greatest need (unrestricted gifts allow the Fine Arts Center to direct funds to its greatest area of need). If you wish to make a greater than $2,500 gift or a multi-year pledge, please contact John Ebbets, our director of development @ john.ebbets@umass.edu.


You can make your gift online via the maroon buttons or by mailing a check payable to the University of Massachusetts to:

Records & Gift Processing

Memorial Hall

University of Massachusetts

134 Hicks  Way

Amherst, MA 01003-9270


Please include "in honor of Dr. Tillis" when making your gift. 

For mailed gifts, please be sure to indicate whether your gift is for the Tillis Endowment or FAC's greatest needs.


We thank you and look forward to when we can be together again.