Berklee College of Music in Boston is celebrating the contributions of an Andover native with the creation of the Paul Wennik Award.
The scholarship in honor of the Berklee trustee emeritus will be presented annually to an outstanding student who exhibits academic and performance excellence in the Music Business/Management program.
Wennik joined Berklee’s board of trustees in 1984 after volunteering as a lecturer in the Music Business/Management Department. From 1992 to 1999, he served as chairman of the Educational Affairs Committee, where he studied and appraised the quality of Berklee’s academic programs, personnel projects and student life programs, and made recommendations to the board. He also served on the college’s Institutional Advancement Committee and the Committee on Membership.
Wennik has been involved in the record industry since 1968, and has gone on to hold management positions with Polygram, Capitol, Warner Bros. and BASF. In his 22 years at Polygram, he helped break Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Shirley Horn, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Donna Summer and other artists.
Berklee officials say Wennik’s industry background proved to be an asset for the college as he arranged for executives and others from the business to lecture as visiting artists. He has also secured internships at Polygram over the years for more than 35 Berklee students, giving them invaluable experience in the music industry.
Born in Andover, Wennik attended UMass, where he excelled in both music and athletics. He left school to sign a professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators. An active UMass alumnus for almost 40 years, he has served as the university’s annual fund chairman and in other leadership positions.
He is currently on the board of directors of Beyond Soccer, a nonprofit based in Lawrence that provides underserved youths with athletic, academic and nutrition training. He now lives in Salem.
Zack Kressaty, a guitarist from Montville, N.J., has been selected to receive the first Paul Wennik Award, which will be presented at Berklee’s spring awards ceremony each March
He has played with various bands at such festivals as Bamboozle, Skate and Surf and Florida Music, and has performed at venues like the Stone Pony, Starland Ballroom and Gramercy Theater. He also worked in the studio alongside Noble Music founder Tony Shimkin, a producer/songwriter best known for his work with Madonna, Whitney Houston, Prince and others. Since coming to Berklee, Kressaty joined the rock act Sam Haiman Band and the metal band Achilles.