Toni Marie Montgomery.

Toni-Marie Montgomery will step down next year after two-decades as dean Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.

Montgomery became Northwestern’s first African American dean and the first female dean of its music school.

“For two decades, Toni-Marie Montgomery has consistently pushed the Bienen School’s standards for excellence ever higher,” Provost Kathleen Hagerty said in announcing Montgomery’s plans.

Montgomery’s most most visible legacy is the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts that opened in 2015 and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

“I’m thrilled that for generations to come, Bienen School students and faculty will enjoy studying, practicing and performing in the beautiful facilities,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery will step down on Aug. 31, 2023 but continue to serve as a tenured professor.

Hagerty says the University soon will name a committee to launch a global search for Montgomery’s successor.

Under Montgomery’s leadership, the Bienen School has developed numerous programs to heighten its visibility in the Chicago area as well as nationally and internationally.

As the school’s profile has risen, it has increasingly attracted students of the highest caliber, and admissions have become more highly selective, with only 10 percent of applicants accepted annually in recent years.

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