Professor Andy Whitman spreads joy through music



A story for National Volunteer Week, April 21-27

The warm sounds of the acoustic guitar fill the air as Finance Professor Andy Whitman guides the room at the senior living community into a chorus of “You Are My Sunshine.” Hands clap and feet tap along with the beat.

“Music is magic, so it brings them right back,” Whitman says.

Several times a week, Whitman and his wife, Carol, perform tunes from the Great American Songbook to residents at Presbyterian Homes & Services senior living communities throughout the Twin Cities area. Through music, they connect with residents in memory care, military veterans, and more.

“We get to know the people and we see them move and it is just so fun and satisfying to see them get right into it,” he says. “Same songs that we like.”

Whitman started volunteering at the communities in 1991. Since then, he’s received the Presbyterian Homes’ Volunteer of the Year award. But it isn’t the awards that keep him coming back — it’s the people. Whitman even met his wife during one of his performances about a decade ago. She had been visiting her father at the care center and couldn’t help but sing along. Noticing her enthusiasm, he called her up to join him. She’s been his singing partner ever since.

At 85 years old, Whitman, one of the University of Minnesota Carlson School’s longest-serving faculty members, shows no signs of stopping. On top of his weekly volunteer work, he is also an attorney, serves as a certified tax counselor and certified financial planner for Prepare & Prosper, runs finance and legal seminars for the UMN Retiree Association, and still teaches multiple risk management and insurance classes each semester.

“You keep moving,” Whitman says, smiling. “That’s the key. I believe that what keeps me moving is taking what I can do best and keeping it going.”

This story first appeared in the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Alumni Magazine, Spring 2024 edition. Republished with permission.

We are grateful for Andy, Carol and all PHS volunteers who give us good reason to celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, 2024.

Are you are seeking an opportunity to serve others and make a difference in their lives? Come volunteer at any Presbyterian Homes & Services community. Find out about how you can enrich the lives and touch the hearts of older adults



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