Interlochen Center for the Arts President Emeritus Dean Boal dies
Boal served as President and Director of Arts and Performance Programs for National Public Radio before becoming president of Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Interlochen Center for the Arts President Emeritus Dr. Dean Boal died on Nov. 14, 2023. He was 92.
“I’ve valued my discussions with Dean, his thoughtful and encouraging notes, and his historical perspective on our great organization,” said current Interlochen President Trey Devey. “Dean’s impact on Interlochen has been significant and will continue to be felt for generations to come.”
In 1953, Boal enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Hood. During his service, Boal was a member of the First Armored Division’s “jeep band” and directed a weekly television show featuring the band’s members.
Boal served as director of St. Louis-based public radio station KWMU from 1976 to 1978 and joined WETA-FM (Washington, D.C.) as Vice President and General Manager in 1978.
In 1983, Boal was appointed President and Director of Arts and Performance Programs for National Public Radio. During his tenure at NPR, Boal contracted Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi and created Performance Today—a daily, two-hour program that showcases recordings of live performances from across the United States. Performance Today is broadcast on hundreds of radio stations across the United States, won the 2014 Gabriel Award for artistic achievement, and remains a staple of Classical IPR programming.
On Dec. 3, 1989, Boal became the fourth president of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Under Boal’s leadership, the National Music Camp was renamed Interlochen Arts Camp.
Boal’s expertise in public radio made him a strong supporter of Interlochen’s radio station. During Boal’s administration, WIAA, its relay stations, and the institution’s recording services department were merged to form Interlochen Public Radio.
In recognition of IPR’s expansion and centrality to the institution’s mission, the Board of Trustees formally recognized Interlochen Public Radio as the institution’s third business unit. The Interlochen Public Radio building was also expanded to include a new on-air studio and production facilities.
Boal’s most visible contribution to Interlochen was the development of the Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan. In 2021, the opening of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House marked the full realization of the Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan. Interlochen recognized Boal at the celebratory events in October 2021, which he attended along with former presidents Ed Downing and Jeff Kimpton.
Boal retired from Interlochen's presidency on Feb. 1, 1995. Three years later, Boal published "Interlochen: A Home for the Arts," a comprehensive account of Interlochen’s history from founder Joseph Maddy’s youth to the conclusion of Boal’s presidency.
In 2011, Boal received the George Norlin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement in music and devotion to the betterment of society.
Boal is survived by his wife, Dr. Ellen Boal, his two sons Jed (Brenda Bennett), and Dr. Brett (Dr. Lisa Sheppard), and granddaughters Nina, Eva, and Elena Boal.