Ernest Mead, a renowned music professor and University alumnus, passed away Thursday evening from congestive heart failure. Mead, a graduate of the class of 1940, was 95.

Mead served as chair of the music department, and in 1972 began leading small seminars to discuss important issues facing the University community, which he continued after his retirement.

Longtime music professor Ernest "Boots" Mead was known for his commitment to forging relationships with students and his devotion to the University community. Photo courtesy of Keith Williams

University History Officer Alexander Gilliam said Mead was best known for his seminars, in addition to his great musical talent.

“He would select a small group of students and they talked about everything under the sun in the seminars,” Gilliam said. “He was famous for that and the students who took his seminars developed a great affection for him.”

Thomas Howard, secretary of the Raven Society and Curry graduate student, said Mead took his responsibilities to students outside the classroom seriously as well, becoming both their friend and mentor.

“Mr. Mead … had a unique ability to draw out the best in every student he met, taking his teaching well beyond just the material presented in class, but improving students in every way possible, helping them cultivate intellect and excel in everything they were interested in,” Howard said in an email.

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