DETROIT— Wayne State University has received a gift of $4.4 million from the Evangeline L. Dumesnil Trust to provide scholarships for music students.
“I am excited and grateful that the Evangeline L. Dumesnil Scholarship will become an enduring source of support and recognition for our outstanding music students,” said Matthew Seeger, dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. “Our music students have committed themselves to developing and sharing their talent and creativity, and the Dumesnil Scholarship will help ensure their education is not a financial burden.”
For 22 years, the Evangeline L. Dumesnil Trust has awarded scholarships to Wayne State students with outstanding musical talent and academic excellence. Nearly 350 students have been recognized as Dumesnil Scholars, and the scholarship has provided more than $1.7 million in tuition support. The Dumesnil trustees recently decided to dissolve the trust and contribute its principal to an endowed fund that will provide scholarship support in perpetuity. This gift is an investment both in the future of Wayne State and the musical heritage of Detroit.
Evangeline Dumesnil was born in 1896 in Northville. Known professionally by her maiden name of Evangeline Lehman, she was an accomplished composer and singer who loved to teach. Though she traveled the world performing with her pianist husband Maurice Dumesnil, she also maintained a studio for private students in Highland Park. She passed away in that city in 1975.
Today Evangeline Dumesnil continues to teach the next generation of Detroit musicians through her investment in student scholarships. Scholarships allow music students to pursue their talent and passion while easing their financial burden. The talent-based Dumesnil Scholarship also honors those who receive it. “Receiving the scholarship was really rewarding, not only financially,” said composition major and Dumesnil Scholar Lucian Lupas ’13. “I felt that I was appreciated as an artist.”
The Department of Music at Wayne State strives to cultivate a deep aesthetic understanding of music in its students and in the larger urban arts community. Just down the street from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Opera House and the Detroit Jazz Festival, Wayne State and its students are naturally immersed in the city’s artistic heart and soul. “Being here, you kind of breathe art,” said Lupas. “You feel like you’re part of everything.”
The Department of Music combines higher education with professional training for students. Faculty members frequently collaborate with local arts organizations. “Because of our location, Wayne State music students have opportunities that are not found at other universities,” said John Vander Weg, chair of the Department of Music. “We are always open to experiences that will help our students grow and develop their skills.”