Fred & Dinah Gretsch First Husband and Wife to Receive Honorary Doctoral Degrees from GSU
Fred and Dinah Gretsch, executives with the 140-year-old Gretsch Company, known worldwide for their iconic guitars and drums, were presented Honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University at the school’s Spring Commencement on May 9, 2023. The presentation marked the first time the University System of Georgia (USG), comprised of 26 of Georgia’s public colleges and universities, has awarded Honorary Degrees to both a husband and wife.
Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero welcomed the graduates and their guests to the ceremonies, held at the Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro. Approximately 4,200 graduates from Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro, Armstrong and Liberty campuses received associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees in five Commencement ceremonies.
“Individually and as a couple, Fred and Dinah Gretsch are iconic figures in the music industry and have shown untiring willingness to share their extensive knowledge and to help Georgia Southern University build relationships with others in the music industry,” said Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero in awarding the degrees. “They have a long history of promoting music education, and their partnership with Georgia Southern is paying untold dividends for our reputation and for our students.
Through the university’s collaboration with the Gretsches, Georgia Southern developed a permanent display of music memorabilia that highlights 140 years of Gretsch instruments, which is on display in downtown Savannah’s District Live’s lobby and performance space. Gretsch support is also behind a faculty position – a Distinguished Scholar in Guitar/Music Industry, a staff position in the Georgia Southern Museum to catalog and manage the permanent Gretsch Collection at Georgia Southern, and two graduate assistantships in the Department of History for students who will help preserving the Gretsch family’s collections, exhibits and documents.
Honorary degree recipients are suggested by a university committee, endorsed by Georgia Southern leadership, then approved by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.
Fred Gretsch received the honorary degrees on behalf of himself and his wife, Dinah, from Dr. Ashley Walker, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Dr. Carl Reiber, Provost, and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “For 140 years, multiple generations of the Gretsch family have been dedicated to enriching lives through participation in music,” said Fred Gretsch, Fourth Generation President of the Gretsch Company. “I really can’t thank the University enough for this honorary doctorate degree and for their unwavering commitment to change the world through music.”
“This is such a huge honor for me and Fred and the entire Gretsch family,” said Dinah Gretsch, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Gretsch Company. “To be recognized this way from a great university like Georgia Southern that also shares our deep passion for music education is quite humbling. I guess Fred and I can now call each other Doctor Gretsch.”
Fred Gretsch is the great-grandson of Friedrich Gretsch, who founded the family business in 1883 in Brooklyn, NY. Fred along with his wife and business partner, Dinah, have more than 100 years of combined experience in the musical instrument business. Fifth and sixth generation family members are also involved in the business, making Gretsch one of the few remaining family-owned musical instrument manufacturing companies in the industry.
For more information and to learn about The Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music at Georgia Southern University, go to www.georgiasouthern.edu/music, and for more about “That Great Gretsch Sound! Gretsch Museum” in Savannah, GA, go to www.georgiasouthern.edu/gretsch-museum.