In an era of seemingly endless leadership change at the university, Penn State found out that it will lose another giant yesterday. Dr. O. Richard Bundy, who has served as director of the Blue Band since 1996, announced his plans to retire after the 2014-2015 school year. Bundy confirmed his intention to retire to multiple media outlets after this job listing was posted in Penn State’s human resources database.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many great students over the last 35 years,” Bundy said, according to StateCollege.com’s Steve Bauer. “Although I look forward with anticipation — and some degree of trepidation — to retirement, I know I will greatly miss the wonderful students, support staff, and professional colleagues who have been an important part of my 35-year career with the Penn State Blue Band.”
Bundy is only the fifth Blue Band director in its 115-year history, and is the only director to have been a Blue Band member himself. Ubiquitously loved by generations of band members, Bundy joined the faculty and Blue Band support staff in 1983 and has received countless accolades since, including the Lion’s Paw Medal in 2011 and distinction as an Alumni Fellow last year. He even co-hosted his own radio show on WKPS for a time.
“Dr. Bundy made an extraordinary impact on all of the students he worked with over his many years in the Penn State Bands program,” said current Blue Band president Stephen Payne. “He has been a rock in the midst of change across the University over the past few years and has challenged each band member to live up to what it means to be a Penn Stater. Dr. Bundy always stresses how fortunate we are to represent Penn State, and he is certainly the model of a true Penn Stater. His go-to catchphrase ‘Carpe the heck out of the diem’ stands as a constant reminder to every Blue Band member to always do your best and will certainly not be forgotten by any member of the Blue Band fortunate enough to play for him.”
As for retirement, Bundy told the AP’s Mike Sisak that he plans to travel and address the “honey-do list” his “wife has been compiling for the last 35 years.”
“I’m sure I’ll be nostalgic on Saturdays during the fall of 2015 and beyond,” Bundy said. “I am a Penn Stater through and through and will be cheering on the students and staff of the Blue Band as they continue to ‘raise the song’ for the university we love.”
While Bundy still has one more season at the helm, the search for his successor begins immediately. I’m not tapped in to the marching band director market, but it’s not hard to imagine that Blue Band assistant director Greg Drane, a Penn State graduate who has held that position since 2005, will be one of the frontrunners for the job if he wants it.