With over 100 faculty members and more than 750 students, the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music ranks among the top 3% in the country.
The School of Music was renamed in honor of the Butlers following 25 years of philanthropic support to the school and a donation of $55 million in the spring of 2008. The endowment is one of the largest ever given by private donors to a university, and is the second largest for a music school (second only to the Yale School of Music).
As stated in the official University of Texas press release (dated March 18, 2008):
"Since 1983, the Butlers have created nine endowments in the School of Music to support students, faculty and programs. In 2004, the School of Music named its opera program after the couple in appreciation of their $2 million endowment for the opera theatre program.
Dr. Butler is a retired physician, who specialized in otolaryngology [ear, nose, and throat]. He is a member of the College of Fine Arts Advisory Council, and past treasurer and trustee of the Texas Medical Association Foundation. Mrs. Butler is chairwoman of the Ballet Austin Board of Directors, a member of the Blanton Museum Council, and a member of the university’s Development Board. The Butlers are members of the university’s Chancellor’s Council, President’s Associates and the Texas Exes.
In addition to supporting the School of Music, the Butlers have been major donors to local arts organizations, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Austin and the Austin Lyric Opera."