Inaugural Marcia J. Haas Performing Arts Scholars named

A brick wall contains the lettering for the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. A tree with white blossoms is in the foreground.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

The inaugural group of Marcia J. Haas Performing Arts Scholars has been named, setting the stage for students to enhance their GVSU education with enrichment activities that will help them hone their craft.

The students are recipients of funds from the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Endowment for the Performing Arts, which was established by the president emeritus and his wife to create a "margin of excellence" in the GVSU performing arts programs by supporting opportunities for students to develop their talents through competitions, summer programs, coaching and other experiences.

The scholars are, in the music discipline, Becca Hanson, Tumaini Sango, Natalie Feldpausch, Aurora Krueger, Elise Alvaro, Elise Endres and Steph Bueche. In the dance discipline, Elizabeth Schanz was named.

Marcia Haas said she and Thomas Haas have a passion to help GVSU performing artists realize their dreams.

Marcia Haas, left, and Thomas Haas smile in a posed photo.
Marcia J. and Thomas J. Haas

"We believe that an opportunity for students to explore their profession through an experience will not only benefit them but others as well," she said. "It brings us much joy and satisfaction and it is an honor to watch each of the Marcia J. Haas Performing Arts Scholars reach for their dreams."

Added Thomas Haas: "The first cohort of scholars for the awards yielded outstanding recipients who selected opportunities to grow and expand. We hope that in years to come additional students will be inspired to apply for these scholarships. We are proud to be part of their journey."

Bill Ryan, director of the GVSU New Music Ensemble, chaired the committee reviewing the applications. He said funds will be awarded twice a year to current students studying or participating in any of the performing arts.

“As we reviewed the applications, we were looking for interesting, well-written proposals for activities that would complement the classroom experiences the students are getting at GVSU," Ryan said. "We were quite impressed with the diverse nature of the projects and the thoughtfulness that went into the winning applications.”

Danny Phipps, chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, said he is grateful for the gift that demonstrates a commitment to urge students to follow their dreams and craft a better future.

"Study in the performing arts is incredibly rewarding. It is also, unfortunately, expensive and often sadly beyond the reach of many very talented students," Phipps said. "Tom and Marcia's generous gift will enable up-and-coming star performers to advance beyond their studies and gain intensely valuable real-time performing experiences by funding off campus enrichment activities that would otherwise be nearly impossible for students to attain."


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