A Passion for Guitar Leads to Future Gift

Ronna B. Erickson

Ronna B. Erickson ’81 is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College of Natural Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy.

Ronna Erickson began her career as a technician in the instrumentation lab of the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory, then went to work at Millitech, a spinoff from the UMass Department of Astronomy. She later rejoined the FCRAO in 1989 as an engineer, specializing in instrumentation for radio astronomy.

In 2009, Ronna decided to take up classical guitar. In 2015 when she retired, Ronna continued her practice on a more serious level. She enjoyed it so much that she started to attend regional guitar events. As she met more guitarists in the region, she realized the need for more venues that would support local artists.

“There were few concerts in the local area, and I don’t like driving great distances to enjoy a show.”

Ronna’s passion to increase audience exposure to the classical guitar and to local performance artists has led her to advocate and support the Fine Arts Center at UMass Amherst.

After many years of generous support, Ronna has made a gift in her estate to create and support the ¡Guitarra! Classical Guitar Concert Series Endowment Fund. This endowment will fund the concert series, master classes, and visiting artists and composers, all intended to bring classical guitar to a broader audience and train the next generation of musicians.

“I like to give to things that have a direct impact on the community. This endowment will help pay for things that grants may not cover.”

Ronna resides in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband, Professor Neal Erickson, and she pursues her other passion to support endangered species—specifically, the spadefoot toad, bog turtles and salamanders.

Her work with the Mass Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy helps create and restore suitable habitat for these species. Ronna is enjoying retirement by traveling and actively engaging in the causes she is passionate about.

Ronna’s gift to UMass Amherst will increase audience exposure to classical guitar and support local performance artists. To learn more ways you can support the UMass Amherst programs that are important to you, as Ronna is doing, contact Theresa M. Curry, JD at tcurry@umass.edu or 413-577-1418.

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an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

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