Fulhage gift brings added harmony to Emporia State’s music program

September 11, 2013

A gift of a quarter-million dollars is making the decision to come to Emporia State University an easy one for 20 music students. They are the first recipients of the Fulhage Music Scholarships, made possible by a gift from the estate of an alumna, Mildred Fulhage.

“We were certainly thrilled when we learned about this scholarship,” said Allan Comstock, associate professor of music and music department chair. “The first thing we thought was that we want to honor Ms. Fulhage for her tremendous gift.”

The 20 students receiving Fulhage scholarships will be introduced during a bell-ringing ceremony and reception at Emporia State’s Sauder Alumni Center at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13. The community is invited to attend.

Fulhage will be posthumously inducted in the Beach Hall of Distinction during the Emporia State music department’s Annual Benefit Gala, Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Heath Recital Hall. Tickets for the Gala are $25 each and may be purchased by calling 620-341-5431. 

A schoolteacher for 41 years, Fulhage earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Kansas State Teachers College in 1936. She taught vocal music in Thayer and Cedar Vale, Kan., before joining the teaching staff of the Kansas City, Kan., public school system where she retired in 1977 as coordinator of music. She was 96 years old when she died in June, 2012.

“I am so pleased that you are honoring Mildred Fulhage at your benefit concert,” said Kay Wildman, a co-worker of Fulhage’s in the Kansas City school system. “She enriched many lives during her years of teaching and instilled in her students a love for music that carried over into their adult years.”

“While she was alive, Ms. Fulhage made a decision to continue her legacy of teaching music students, and what a wonderful legacy that is,” noted Jennifer Denton, Foundation vice-president for stewardship and administration. Ms. Fulhage will also be posthumously listed as a member of the Foundation’s Kellogg Society, which recognizes the importance of planned gifts to the sustainability of Emporia State University.

“Somewhere along the way, someone planted an idea in Mildred Fulhage’s mind about leaving a gift to Emporia State. Her generosity will truly change lives,” said Michael D. Shonrock, Ph.D., Emporia State president.

The Fulhage scholarships mean Emporia State’s music department can attract more students to the program.

“In the past, we’ve had to really limit our scholarship awards,” said Comstock. “It’s a special experience to be able to compete with larger schools for talented students,” he concluded.

“My biggest dream was to study in the United States,” said Anastasia Motiti, Fulhage scholarship recipient and international transfer student from Cyprus, an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Motiti, a talented musician who has attended several piano and flute academies and master classes with a number of European musicians in Cyprus, Greece and Austria, is attending Emporia State with the support of her family, the Fulhage Scholarship, and the Fulbright Commission in Cyprus.

“The scholarship given to me is a great present,” continued Motiti. “I hope through my studies to make Emporia State University proud." 

For Trevor Laporte, a music major from Pleasanton, the Fulhage scholarship provides significant relief from the financial stresses of college. “I am taking 19 hours, working two jobs, trying to fit in homework and at least four hours of practice a day, and that can get pretty stressful,” Laporte said.

Comstock said the scholarships will also help create an ensemble of graduate music students who will travel to schools, work with students and serve as outreach for the university.

For more information about making gifts to Emporia State University through Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University, please contact the Foundation at 620-341-5454.

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