When opportunity knocks — School of Music Director Kevin Woelfel steps down to pursue entrepreneurship
As the University of Idaho goes through changes with President M. Duane Nellis leaving for Texas Tech University, the Lionel Hampton School of Music is going through its own transition. Kevin Woelfel, director of the Lionel Hampton School of Music, will step down at the end of the academic year. Woelfel has been with UI since 2007.
Woelfel was previously the director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado, Boulder and has spent time traveling around the country teaching musicians about entrepreneurship. He said he is planning to pursue that aspect of his career further.
“I’ve had the opportunity to free up my schedule to spend more time actually teaching entrepreneurship in more of a freelance fashion and travel around,” Woelfel said. “I also like to be a practitioner of entrepreneurship and I have another venture in me that I want to build.”
Because of the demands of his job as director, Woelfel said it isn’t fair to keep his position and also pursue the opportunities that have presented themselves.
“I just think it’s a good time for me and my life to step down from this,” Woelfel said.
During his time at UI, Woelfel said the most rewarding aspect of his job is seeing students graduate.
“Watching folks go across the podium and the joy in their eyes because they’ve accomplished such a major thing,” Woelfel said. “I’ll miss that. I’ll especially miss the people and the students.”
Woelfel’s replacement will be Torrey Lawrence who is the current associate director of the school of music.
“(Torrey) is really talented, well-respected and he’s done a lot of great things while he’s been here,” Woelfel said.
Lawrence said he will be sad to see Woelfel go, but is glad to see him pursuing what he has a passion for.
“He’s been a great colleague,” Lawrence said. “He’s very personable, very caring and he’s made some great improvements to our facilities.”
The transition between Woelfel and Lawrence will take place gradually as the semester comes to a close.
“I’m very excited and anxious — anytime you get into a new role, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to figure out,” Lawrence said. “That’s exciting and intimidating at the same time. You want to hit the ground running and frankly, you can’t.”
Lawrence has been with UI for 15 years and said he knows a lot about the program, its curriculum and the faculty.
“My real vision for the school is to continue to be an outstanding program where we teach music at a high level,” Lawrence said. “Part of that vision is to realize where we are changing, where we are going in new areas and where things need to be possibly revamped or improved.”
Woelfel said there is something special about UI that he has always enjoyed.
“I’ve gone to dozens and dozens of schools,” Woelfel said. “By far this is my favorite school, there’s a lot of neat things that go on here.”
Kaitlin Moroney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org