James McCalla, an associate professor of music who is retiring at the end of this year, has donated his piano to the Russwurm African American Center. In celebration of his gift, the center held a small reception last week and invited jazz pianist Ahmad Hassan Muhammad ’10 to play.
Olufemi Vaughan, director of Bowdoin’s Africana Studies Program and the Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies and History, said McCalla, besides being a great colleague and a well-respected professor, had enriched the Africana studies program with his commitment to jazz. “Jim made jazz studies an integral part of Africana studies,” Vaughan said. “From my perspective, I can’t imagine Africana studies without excellent scholars in music.”
Vaughan said McCalla had given the piano to the Russwurm Center with the hope that it would be well cared for and played often by students.