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University of Iowa News Release

June 23, 2006

UI Music Professor Recognized By Governor As Outstanding Volunteer

Don Coffman, director of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center New Horizons Band and University of Iowa faculty member, was honored with a Governor's Volunteer Award during a special ceremony held June 14 in Marion.

Coffman, professor and area head in the College of Education's music education program and faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences School of Music, was selected for the award because of his work with the New Horizons Band and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

As founder and director of the band since 1995, Coffman has been providing opportunities for Johnson County adults 50 and older to learn or resume playing a musical instrument. He has volunteered more than 6,000 hours directing the band in the last 11 years, according to Susan Rogusky, Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center volunteer specialist. Along with UI undergraduate music education students, Coffman has provided individual and group musical instruction for hundreds of older Iowans. Under his direction, the band has grown to 65 members, and six additional bands have organized. The bands have performed throughout Iowa City, Johnson County and the state of Iowa.

"I have never had more fun and satisfaction in teaching music than I do with my band members," Coffman said. "They are not just people whom I teach; they are my dear friends. For me, it is impossible to separate the music produced from the people who make that music. Knowing the players behind those instruments is what makes the experience complete."

"Don is wonderful," Rogusky said. "He has donated thousands of hours of time to the band and has turned it into a family and a community. People love and care about each other and they love and care about Don. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the center is full of music. It has added a special element to the Senior Center, and we couldn't do it without Don."

Created in 1982, the Governor's Volunteer Award is designed to recognize and honor the outstanding individuals and organizations whose volunteer and community service contributions benefit the work of Iowa's government and nonprofit organizations.

The Governor's Volunteer Award program is coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and the Governor's Office. For more information, visit or call 515-242-4764.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Writer: Kelli Andresen