Michuda Family Dedicates New Rehearsal Hall in Notre Dame Stadium
Family, Music, Notre Dame - Building the tradition of music
By Tony Michuda
Updated October 27, 2018 7:02 ET
NOTRE DAME, INDIANA - On a warm August morning in 1925, Leo Lawrence Michuda stepped onto campus at the University of Notre Dame to study Civil Engineering in the hopes of leading his family’s construction business into their second generation. Little did he know, he was about to begin a legacy of family at Notre Dame very few would ever rival. 25 years to the day later, Leo’s son would take those same first steps in 1950 on that very campus, followed by his grandsons in 1978 and 1979, who would be succeeded by six of his great grandchildren in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.
According to the Family Firm Institute, Leo had a 30% chance of successful succession toward carrying on the family name. Against odds like the Great Depression, the family business splitting in two, and four generations of leadership, Leo’s family has grown, diversified, and poised itself to celebrate Michuda’s 100th year in business in 2019.
Only 3% of family businesses survive into their fourth generation. For the four generations of civil engineers in the Michuda Family, the secret formula to their success isn’t a formula at all - it’s actually music. While Leo Lawrence enjoyed a career in construction with his father Leo Andrew, an MIT graduate and founder of Michuda Brothers Construction in 1919, it was music that provided an escape from the pressure of leading a business through the Great Depression.
Leo Lawrence imparted his love and knowledge of music onto his son, Leo Anton Michuda, who would receive a second degree in music from Notre Dame, followed by a scholarship from Juilliard in 1954 where he would meet his wife Anne Perillo, an immigrant singer from Italy.
With music all in the family, the Michuda’s found no better way to honor the late Leo Anton, than to cement the family’s legacy in stone on the very campus Leo's dad first stepped onto nearly a century ago. As The University of Notre Dame underwent a historic renovation of its stadium last year, the south end of the stadium marked a new effort from the university to expand its music programs for current and prospective students.
Located in the new O’Neill Hall, a gift from Helen and Charles Schwab, to honor Joe O’Neill, sits the Michuda Family Rehearsal Hall. This newly dedicated space provides students, featured guest soloists, and music programs to have a recital hall for performances designed with the high quality acoustics required for music.
“We now thank and honor another wonderful Notre Dame family,” said John Afleck Graves, Executive Vice President of Notre Dame. “For generations, the Michuda Family has been an integral part of Notre Dame’s great musical treasure.”
On October 27th, 2018 atop Notre Dame’s stadium, the Michuda Family unveiled their rehearsal hall in an intimate gathering of the other donors, President George W. Bush and his wife Barbara, and executive leadership at the university. It was here Anne Michuda received a standing ovation for her speech calling for opportunity, diversity, and compassion towards helping up and coming artists chase their dreams amidst the financial burdens of higher level learning.
“For a kid from Brooklyn, I learned very early when I won a full ride to Juilliard, that some people cared enough to give to Juilliard, for a kid like me to experience Juilliard School of Music in New York. I’ll never forget that. Leo and I always talked about the importance of sharing. He taught us to do this and Leo I thank you, you taught us to live, love, and share and we love Notre Dame.”