Music Endowment Gives Leg-up to Aspiring Performance Artists
August 15, 2010
By Joanne Ward-Jerrett
Sisters Karen Ridgway Woolhouse and Judith Hume share more than a few family traits. For one thing, they believe in giving back to the community that fostered their education and they are both passionate about lifelong learning.
Engaged in Dalhousie alumni affairs for decades (Karen graduated in ’65 with her BSc in Math and Judy followed her lead with a BA in English in ’66), the sisters have already contributed more than their fair share to the university.
When their parents passed away, Karen seized the opportunity to honour their contributions to Halifax society by establishing a named scholarship. Her parents’ passion for music, combined with their pride in their daughters’ success at Dalhousie made the designation a no-brainer.
A $26,000 gift was made and the Lawrence and Mildred Ridgway Scholarship in Music was born in 2006. Further gifts were received from family and friends in memory of Mr. F. Hume Wells, husband of Judy and music and education advocate in his own right.
Fast-forward a couple of years and what started out as a simple scholarship fund has blossomed into the Woolhouse-Wells Endowment in Music, which today provides two or more entrance scholarships for outstanding students pursuing a degree in music performance – an outcome both sisters find extremely rewarding.
“Music is a part of Dalhousie that truly reaches into the community,” says Karen, a long-time supporter of Symphony Nova Scotia. “There are so many concerts featuring Dal music students and alumni. It’s truly a lifelong commitment and those who study music at Dal are always performing and giving back to the school.”
Her sister agrees.
“Living in the South End of Halifax all my life has meant that I’ve always been aware of the university’s presence, both in the cultural and professional sense,” says Judy. “It just felt right to be able to support deserving music students who are at the very beginning of what will undoubtedly be a long and rewarding road.”