Sharon Westby, a former General Motors executive who has helped spearhead a succession of recent campus renovation initiatives at Music Academy of the West, has been elected chairwoman of the academy’s board of directors.

Sharon Westby

Sharon Westby

Also elected to the board’s executive committee for 2010 were Georgia Lynn as second vice chairwoman and Michele Brustin as secretary. Robert Nourse was re-elected as board treasurer and Robert Toledo, who had been serving as secretary, was named first vice chairman. The academy board elections took place Nov. 24.

Born in Detroit, Westby earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Michigan State University and an MBA at the University of Michigan before embarking on a career at General Motors Corp. She went on to hold a succession of analytical and management positions at the company, retiring as vice president of finance for GM Canada in 2002. A Santa Barbara resident since 2004, Westby joined the Music Academy board two years later. As chairwoman of the Campus Renovation Committee, she played a lead role in the renovation of Hahn Hall and subsequent improvement projects at the campus, 1070 Fairway Road. Westby succeeds James E. Davidson, who held the position for the last three years. Academy board officers serve one-year terms unless re-elected.

“This is an especially exciting time at the Music Academy of the West, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue contributing to this outstanding organization,” Westby said. “I am eagerly looking forward to the coming year.”

Meanwhile, Davis, Nourse, Toledo, Kandy Luria-Budgor and Robert W. Weinman were re-elected to three-year terms. Newly elected to three-year terms were Andy Chou, Judy Getto and Maurice Singer. Richard C. Blake and Seymour Lehrer retired from the board, effective Dec. 31.

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board).

Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and fully staged opera. The academy began screening live performances by the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera at Hahn Hall in 2008.

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— Tim Dougherty is communications manager at Music Academy of the West.