Healthy Musicianship

Hari Kern believes in the power of music.


A lifelong musician, patron of the College of Music, and stalwart arts supporter in the Greater Lansing Area, Hari Kern knows music. Since 1998, Hari and her late husband, Ralph Edminster, M.D., have made annual gifts to MSU Music providing generous support to student scholarships, the Community Music School, the Jazz Studies Program, facilities needs, and concert sponsorships. These gifts are in addition to their support of Summer Circle Theatre, the Broad Art Museum, and Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

“The arts have the power to change lives,” Hari explains. “The College of Music is a wonderful feature of living in East Lansing. I have strong relationships with many of the faculty and so many of my friends in the community attend music concerts; it’s a big part of the social fabric for so many in the mid-Michigan area.”

Music is a very important part of Hari’s life, but it goes deeper than an appreciation for music. Hari was a performing arts major (BMUS in piano performance at Ithaca College) followed by graduate work at Yale University and the University of Michigan. When thinking about a gift to support MSU’s Capital Campaign, Hari considered the areas she has supported over the years.

After thoughtful consideration, she worked with Judy Palac, associate professor of music education and director of the Musicians’ Wellness Team at MSU, to establish the Hari Kern Musicians’ Wellness Endowment in the College of Music. Since Ralph was a physician and Hari has been a mental health professional as a practicing psychotherapist for 31 years (MA in clinical psychology at the University of Detroit), establishing an endowment in support of healthy musicianship for the students in the College of Music was a perfect fit both personally and professional.

Proceeds from the Kern Musicians’ Wellness Endowment may be used for student musicians’ wellness needs including promotional efforts to increase awareness and assistance for healthy musicianship, honoraria, lodging, travel and meals for guest speakers, student stipends for travel to conferences for research-related opportunities, equipment/facilities/administrative needs, and student stipends to assist with expenses related to improved musician wellness needs.

“Our students and the Wellness Team will truly benefit from this gift,” says Palac.  “The Kern Endowment will help MSU to develop a leadership role in musicians' health.”

“When I was a performing arts major,” says Hari, “I could have benefited greatly if a Wellness Team had been in place to assist me with my anxieties around performing and my ambivalence and concerns about making music my life's work."

As a member of MSU’s Musicians’ Wellness Team, Hari has an opportunity to help students in the College of Music with their occupational-related problems. By establishing the Kern Endowment for Musicians’ Wellness, she is ensuring an ongoing source of funding to help students.

For more information on establishing a named endowment in the College of Music, please contact the Advancement Office at 517-353-9872 or email Rebecca Surian, director of development, at

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