category: Faculty Emeriti - In Honor Of

Oland Summers

Professor Emeritus of Music Education

Oland Summers

Dr. Oland Summers (1934-) was born in South Bend, Ind., to Charles and Gladys Summers. He graduated in 1952 from James W. Riley High School in South Bend. He then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music teacher education at Indiana State University, his education specialist degree in music administration and his Doctor of Arts in music conducting from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and additional study in conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb, Summers taught band, choir, and orchestra in various Indiana and Illinois public schools for 19 years. He worked as a high school director of band and choir in the Rochester Indiana school system, as a department chair for the music and fine arts programs of the Vandalia, Ill., and Muncie school systems, and as an assistant director of bands for Ball State University.

Summers joined the Gardner-Webb faculty as assistant professor of music in 1976 and started Gardner-Webb’s first marching band that year. He worked as the director of bands until 1989 and as coordinator and professor of music education until 2011, a total of 35 years. Upon his retirement, Summers had taught music for 54 years.

Summers would like to be remembered by the Gardner-Webb community as “Doc,” a term his students affectionately called him, for his heart for teaching and loving his students, and as “the musician who played 1,000 instruments.”

Summers married Joyce A. Bolin of Terre Haute, Ind., in 1956. They have three children: Beth, Stephen, and Jeannie.

Summers said four success stories stand out to him: starting the GWU Marching Band in 1976, being honored by the faculty as a faculty marshal, becoming a five-time winner of the Outstanding Music Teacher award, and being able to place every music education student desiring a teaching position while he was the coordinator of music education.

Summers has also served as permanent part-time minister of music, interim, and supply minister of music in various churches for over six decades. He has been a part of multiple organizations, including the Music Educators National Conference, National Educators Association, Indiana Music Educators Association, Indiana Educators Association, National Bandmasters Association, and the Indiana Bandmasters Association.

One of Summers’ former students, Dr. Tracy Jessup, recognized Summers for his longtime service to Gardner-Webb before his retirement in 2011.

Jessup said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who moved with greater ease between the academy and the church. That’s because ‘Doc’ truly sees both as a ministry to which he’s been called to use his knowledge, his gifts, and his talents to glorify God.”

Source: Personal interview—Matt Renfer (2014)

Updated: July 2022

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