Bethany makes UD homecoming wish come true

George Zimmerman at UD

George Zimmerman on the UD campus, with (clockwise, from left) music therapy students Molly Guinan and Elisha Evanko and Bethany Village Music Therapist Liz Crombie.

Bethany Village staff helped make a wish come true for resident George Zimmerman this spring with a return to visit the University of Dayton music department, where he was a beloved music professor for many years. “He has left a legacy there and several professors remember him,” said Liz Crombie, Bethany Village Music Therapist and a UD graduate.

Some UD music therapy students got to know Zimmerman in the spring when they came to Bethany Village to lead music sessions. He delighted them with stories of his life in Dayton, his cooking show on local television, the annual Christmas concert at UD and the books he has written. They discovered he was dreaming of returning to campus.

“With the music therapy students having their practicum here twice a week this past semester George has been yearning to be back on campus, take a look around, and reminisce,” said Crombie. So in the week when one of his music colleagues was planning to retire, they arranged to take Zimmerman back to the university he dearly loves. He took a tour of familiar places, met students and had lunch with old colleagues and attended a recital concert on campus.

“His request couldn’t have come at a more opportune time,” said Crombie. Not only was one of his colleagues retiring on that day, but it was also the last day classes would ever be held in the old Music and Theatre building, as the department is moving into a new Performing Arts building for the fall semester. “We are very blessed that he was able to return once more to the place where he truly flourished as an educator; where his legacy continues to thrive and his stories are still told.”

“There is a picture hanging right across from the front doors in the building of George on a bench with a student and we were even able to take George over to the spot where that picture was taken. It was all very special for him and all of us.”