The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance has received a gift of $4.4 million from the Evangeline L. Dumesnil Trust to create the Maurice and Evangeline Dumesnil Endowed Scholarship Fund for music students.
For 22 years, the Evangeline L. Dumesnil Trust, from the estate of the Detroit-area singer-teacher-composer and her concert pianist husband, has awarded scholarships to SMTD students. During this time, more than 450 U-M students have been recognized as Dumesnil Scholars with more than $1.8 million in tuition support distributed. The Dumesnil trustees have now dissolved the trust and contributed its principal to an endowed fund that will provide, in perpetuity, significant scholarship support for generations of music students.
"We are enormously grateful for this gift of an endowed scholarship fund," said Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. "With this permanent and reliable scholarship source, we can continue to support Dumensil scholars for many years into the future. The musical legacy of Evangeline and Maurice Dumesnil will live on through the artists and scholars who benefit from this fund to receive the finest music education available."
The gift to U-M from the Dumesnil Trust represents one-half of the Trust's principal; the other half was donated to Wayne State University's College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts in Detroit.
Evangeline Dumesnil (1896-1975), known professionally by her maiden name, Evangeline Lehman, was born and raised in Port Huron, Michigan and studied at Oberlin Conservatory and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France. She received her doctoral degree from the Detroit Institute of Art in 1940. She enjoyed an international career as a singer and pianist, performing on multiple continents, often with her husband Maurice Dumesnil. As a composer, Lehman wrote a number of works and was most celebrated for an oratorio titled St. Thereses de l'Enfant Jesus, which won the silver medal from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1933. She was also the recipient of France's Cross of Chevalier.
Maurice Dumesnil (1884-1974), who studied with Claude Debussy, had a celebrated career as a concert pianist in the early part of the 20th century and was also a conductor, arranger, and composer. He not only accompanied his wife during the height of her career, but also acted as her promoter. The couple married in 1931 and relocated to the U.S. in 1939 after France declared war on Germany. He became an American citizen in 1942 when they had a second marriage ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri. They lived in the Detroit area throughout their married life, residing in Highland Park, where Lehman taught out of a private studio.