Dr. Warrick L. Carter, music educator, composer, performer, executive and college president, passed at the age of 75 at his residence in Sanford, Florida on July 15 after a brief illness.
Warrick L. Carter was born on May 6, 1942 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Warrick’s love for music became evident at a very early age when his mother introduced him to the piano, and enrolled him and his brothers in the church choir.
He attended Tennessee State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. Carter participated in the university’s marching band and pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He continued his fraternity membership, earning a lifetime membership pin. He earned a master’s degree in music in 1966 and a Ph.D. in Music Education in 1971, both from Michigan State University. His first job after college was as an instrumental music instructor and band director at Alton Park Junior High School in Chattanooga, TN.
Carter continued educational pursuits and advanced studies in percussion at the Blair Academy of Music in Nashville. Not only did he develop his percussionist skills through educational channels, he sharpened his playing skills through his love for jazz, playing in Nashville nightspots.
Carter’s prolific career touched nearly every aspect of the music, education and entertainment sectors. Over time he held many teaching and administrative positions, including time spent at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was director of arts at Walt Disney Entertainment in Orlando, FL for four years, where he managed a $40 million budget.
Locally, Carter accepted a professorship of music and was chairman of the division of fine and performing arts at Governors State University. While there he established the Governors State University Jazz Band.
In 2000, Dr. Carter became the first African American president at Columbia College Chicago, a higher education institution focusing on arts, communications, and public information. He managed an operating budget of more than $220 million during his 13-year tenure as president. Over his presidency the college saw a 25% rise in enrollment.
Throughout his distinguished career Carter acquired a national and international reputation, receiving many appointments and awards. He consulted with non-profit organizations on music education and minority issues in the arts, and lectured and published on the arts, music education, jazz and African American music history. He performed with several noted jazz artists including Natalie Cole, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Wynton Marsalis.
Dr. Warrick L. Carter is survived by his wife Laurel; daughter Keisha Noel and son-in-law Daniel Noel; grandchildren Warrick Carter Noel and Ellison Ann Noel; brothers Charles and Orlanda Carter; and two special friends, Dr. Eric Winston and Dr. Robert Harris.
A memorial service for Dr. Carter will be held in Chicago in the fall.