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In Memoriam: Professor Edward W. Arian

April 17, 2010

Black and White photograph of Arian holding bass on stage

Dr. Edward W. Arian had a distinguished career during his twenty years at Drexel University. After leaving the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he served as assistant principal bass violinist under Eugene Ormandy (1947-1967), he earned a Ph.D in political science from Bryn Mawr College in 1969.  When Dr. Arian came to Drexel in 1970, he joined the faculty of Drexel's College of Humanities and Social Sciences now known as the College of Arts and Sciences.  While Dr. Arian created many important programs for the University, he is especially known for creating our highly regarded graduate program in Arts Administration.  Founded in 1973, the Arts Administration program was one of the first Arts Administration programs in the nation.  “Dr. Arian was a visionary who understood the need for good management in the cultural community,” said Cecelia Fitzgibbon, Arts Administration Program Director. His understanding of the public role of the arts and the impact of class on cultural participation influenced a generation of arts leaders,” said Fitzgibbon. “Dr. Arian was an important figure in the development of arts administration as a field of study and he will be missed by many."

At Drexel, Dr. Arian also founded and directed the graduate program in Environmental Planning and Management and the undergraduate program in Public Administration, which utilized student internships through grant funding to aid local governments in technical assistance.  In 1979, Dr. Arian was appointed chairman of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts by Governor Milton J. Shapp.  He is the author of numerous publications, including two books, Bach, Beethoven, and Bureaucracy: the Case of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Unfulfilled Promise: Public Subsidy of the Arts in America.

In the Philadelphia Orchestra, Arian served as labor negotiator for Local #77, American Federation of Musicians.  In 1966, he helped lead an eight-week strike that yielded the musicians their first guaranteed 52-week salary. He is also a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. Dr. Arian is survived by his wife of 67 years Yvette, daughters Anne-Lesley and Carol and his five grandchildren.