Empowering UCI Students Through the Gift of Music
UC Irvine students with a passion for music, regardless of their major, now have an exciting opportunity to apply for scholarships, all thanks to a generous $100,000 pledge from The Drake Gives, a charitable organization founded by Alec Glasser, a distinguished commercial developer and restaurateur.
“We believe that music is a fundamental part of the soul and it can be applied in many different contexts,” Glasser says. These scholarships are aimed at supporting students who envision integrating music into their future careers.
Glasser, the proud owner of The Drake Restaurant in Laguna Beach, traces his own musical journey back to his school days in New York, where he learned to play the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. He advocates for universal access to music education and enjoyment, even for those who may not pursue music professionally. His love for music is evident as he integrates live nightly jazz and blues performances at The Drake, infusing musical experiences into his business.
The profound effects of music on the brain have been widely studied, showcasing benefits such as enhanced memory, especially in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Music has also shown its potential to aid healing processes, as evidenced by various UCI studies. Additionally, research highlights that children and teens studying music tend to perform better academically, enhancing various cognitive skills and promoting social and emotional awareness.
In alignment with these principles, the School of Social Ecology and Glasser are joining forces to forge collaborations that further the influence of music in society, both locally and globally. Glasser's inspiration for the name of his restaurant, The Drake, harkens back to the renowned Drake Hotel in New York, where he worked in his youth.
This experience profoundly shaped his understanding of hospitality and the importance of genuine interactions with people. "I learned how to be a young businessman, and I met these wonderful people," Glasser fondly recalls, reminiscing about encounters with notable figures such as Sammy Davis Jr., Mohammad Ali, John Coltrane, the Grateful Dead, and The Who during his time at The Drake. These interactions demonstrated the value of hard work, trust-building, and how genuine efforts are inherently rewarded.
Now, Glasser is paying this lesson forward by giving back to the community. In 2021, he established The Drake Gives and partnered with the Save The Music Foundation, aiming to support thousands of schools nationwide in initiating and sustaining music programs.