Cita Strauss

Cita Strauss, left, is joined by Judy Millesen, associate professor and director of the master’s in public administration program at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Both attended the Ohio Women Making a Difference Conference.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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College of Fine Arts graduate establishes fund to support student chorale groups

Cita Strauss, a 1977 graduate of the College of Fine Arts' School of Dance, is passionate about singing and the arts. To put some of this passion to work, Strauss established the Betty Moran Chorale Music Fund, named in honor of the music teacher she had while growing up in Cincinnati.

The gift, a more than $15,000 endowment, will support Ohio University student chorale groups by funding the purchase of supplies, defraying travel expenses to events and concerts, and developing outreach and educational programs, Strauss said.

"This is a broad gift made with the hope that students will no longer have to choose whether or not to participate based on money," said Strauss, who lives in Athens and returned to Ohio University to earn a master's degree in political science in 2006. "I gave back to the arts because it is who I am."

Along with singing while growing up, Strauss took music classes as electives when she was undergraduate student. Strauss said singing brings joy to her life, and today she is a proud member of the Ohio University Choral Union, an integrated choir of students, faculty and community members.

"(Singing) is like skiing. While I am singing, I am concentrating on the music in front of me and watching the director," she said. "When I ski, I focus on the twists and turns of the hills."

Strauss knows the importance of providing art opportunities for the public to discover. Strauss founded Factory Street Dance Studio in Athens in 1978, a non-competitive dance studio that promotes technique, self-esteem and personal growth. While Strauss no longer owns the studio, it is still in operation today.

"It is one thing to be an artist; it's another thing to be an artist who teaches. Teaching is admirable and magical," Strauss said.

The Betty Moran Chorale Music Fund is aimed at providing those same opportunities to discover art—but for OHIO students.

"It inspires me to see students choose to take singing courses as opposed to other electives," she said.

The Betty Moran Chorale Music Fund gift is part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $411 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at