May 16, 2006
NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) will bestow its President’s Award on PLEASANT T. ROWLAND at its Annual Meeting on Monday, July 3, at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The meeting begins at 1:45 p.m. AGO President Frederick Swann will preside. The prestigious award is presented biennially in conjunction with the AGO National Convention to recognize outstanding contributions to the art of the organ in the United States.
Pleasant Rowland’s generous gift of a major concert hall organ propels her into a very small yet distinguished group of philanthropists who believe in the future of the organ in America and of its important position in the concert hall today," declared President Swann. "The arts are an integral part of American culture and a benefit to our society. The American Guild of Organists is proud to recognize Pleasant Rowland for her extraordinary gift of the Overture Concert Organ to the people of Madison, Wis., and her devotion to the King of Instruments. Her generosity affirms that the organ and its music are a vital and viable force in the 21st century, just as they have been in centuries past."
PLEASANT T. ROWLAND, founder of Pleasant Company and creator of American Girl®, has built a career by making children’s learning fun. As a teacher, a writer, and an entrepreneur, she has created educational programs, books, dolls, and toys that integrate learning and play experiences and emphasize important traditional values.
Pleasant Rowland began her career as an elementary school teacher upon graduation from New York State’s Wells College in 1962. She taught in both public and private schools in Massachusetts, California, Georgia, and New Jersey. Dismayed by the lack of creativity and excitement in the textbooks she was given to use, Rowland developed many of her own materials, focusing particularly on the integration of reading with the other language arts. After six years in the classroom, she left teaching to become a television news reporter and anchor for KGO-TV in San Francisco. Covering a story on a new bilingual reading program led to her initial contact with an educational publisher who took an interest in the materials she had developed during her teaching days and asked her to develop reading textbooks based on them.
From 1971 to 1978, Pleasant Rowland served as vice president of the Boston Educational Research Company, where she wrote and developed educational materials that continue to be widely used in schools throughout the country. In 1981, Rowland became the publisher of Children’s Magazine Guide, a library resource that indexes magazines for elementary school children.
In 1985, inspired by a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Rowland combined her love of American history and commitment to high-quality educational products to create The American Girls Collection®, a line of historically accurate books, dolls, and accessories. Parents, reviewers, and educators have lauded the collection for its ability to make American history come alive for millions of children. In 1986, Rowland founded Pleasant Company to market and distribute the American Girl® product line. Today the American Girl® brand is one of the nation’s most respected. Pleasant Company ranks as one of the nation’s top 15 children’s publishers.
Ms. Rowland retired from Pleasant Company in July 2000. Since then, she has formed the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and has focused her energies on her philanthropic interests in arts, education, and historic preservation. She has received numerous honors and awards for her entrepreneurial skills and for her generous philanthropic efforts, especially to the arts and cultural causes, including the Governor’s Award from the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts.
Pleasant Rowland lives in Madison, Wis., with her husband, W. Jerome Frautschi.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.