Milwaukee School of Engineering will soon begin renovation work to develop the Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music at 308 E. Juneau Ave. Once a privately-owned residence, the university recently acquired the property and funds for the renovation thanks to the support of MSOE alumni and friends. 

“The Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music will be home to MSOE’s music programs, giving students ample space to pursue their musical passion, cultivate their creativity, and rehearse with their peers,” said Dr. John Walz, MSOE president. “We are grateful for the support of our university community in making this dream a reality for our students, particularly our alumni and friends who have made this beautiful new student-focused space possible.”  

There are several music ensembles at MSOE including the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Orchestra, Concert Choir, Pep Band and Jazz Combo.  

“As one of the nation’s premier technical universities, MSOE draws students from around the world with increasingly diverse interests,” said Seandra Mitchell, MSOE vice president of student affairs and campus inclusion. “Along with our expanded athletics programs, campus life and co-curricular offerings, music and performing arts top the list of interests that students want to pursue as part of their collegiate experience.”  

Dr. Patricia Kern was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from MSOE in 2000, in recognition of her professional and philanthropic work in the community. She co-founded the Kern Family Foundation in 1998 with her husband Dr. Robert Kern after they sold Generac Power Systems, a company they founded in 1959. She generously supported several organizations, including MSOE and Project Lead The Way. Her legacy lives on at MSOE, most visibly in the Kern Center and Viets Field and soon in the Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music.   

“Pat and Bob Kern were devoted supporters of MSOE and its students,” said Walz. “Pat had a love for singing and music and a passion for paying it forward, so it is fitting that the new dedicated space for music at MSOE be named in her honor.”  

The Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music is expected to be open to MSOE students by the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year.