Kali Hightower (BFA ’24, dance; Ross BBA ’24) describes what she values in a dance program, and what it means to her to have the opportunity to do what she loves at SMTD.
I would like to extend a huge thank you for scholarship support from the Justin E. Metz and Joanna L. Chozen Scholarship. Dance has always been a passion of mine, and being able to study with such intuitive students and esteemed faculty in a supportive environment has been so fulfilling.
I have been dancing for 15 years, training in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pointe, modern, contemporary, lyrical, and worship. Before committing to the University of Michigan, I searched for a program that not only pushes their students to be better creative artists, but to be distinguished academics and professionals as well.
For the past year or so, I have collaborated with other SMTD artists on various projects and spent summers in New York City interning for Mastercard. I also have used these summers in NYC to train, working with Kyle Abraham, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. This past year, I have also had the opportunity to teach groups of up to 200 younger dancers.
Upon graduating, I hope to begin a professional career in dance and join a contemporary/modern company. I am so thankful to be able to do what I love every day in such a collaborative environment, and I truly cannot see myself anywhere other than SMTD.
The gift of scholarship support has made so much possible for me, and I am eternally grateful for the support of the arts here at the University of Michigan.
Investing in Student Success
Building scholarship resources to support SMTD students remains our top priority, and we extend our sincere gratitude to the following individuals who have recently established new scholarships or made significant gifts to existing funds.
Anonymous donors contributed to the Shearwater Fund, which provides scholarship support for students studying early music.
Lawrence Bell (BSE ’68, MSE ’69, MBA ’72) made a gift to the Merton J. and Gladys C. Bell Marching Band Scholarship.
Jerry (BM ’55, MM ’61) and Helga Bilik (BA ’65, MA ’68) made a gift to the Jerry and Helga Bilik Scholarship in Music Education.
Donald (BBA ’55, MBA ’56) and Betty Chisholm (BA ’56, MA ’60) made gifts to the Chisholm Jazz Scholarship and Chisholm Musical Theatre Scholarship.
Deanna and Richard Dorner pledged to renew the Deanna R. and Richard G. Dorner Expendable Scholarship for percussion students.
The Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation made a gift to the SMTD Alumni String Scholarship.
Mary and Michael Duerksen pledged support and made an establishing gift to the Jacqueline V. Olivanti Piano Scholarship.
Perry Kasper Granoff (BA ’63) and Marty Granoff pledged support and made an establishing gift to the Perry Kasper Granoff Scholarship for dance students.
David (BSE ’83) and Leslie Harwood made a gift to establish the Harwood Family Marching Band Scholarship.
Robert and Linda Monitello made a gift establishing the Monitello Family Scholarship in Horn.
The Presser Foundation made a gift to the Presser Graduate Music Award.
Jeffrey Seller (BA ’86) pledged support and made an establishing gift to the Seller Scholarship Fund for SMTD students.
Programmatic Support and Capital Needs
We are grateful to the following individuals for their support of various programs and capital needs throughout the school.
The Benard L. Maas Foundation made a gift to the Benard L. Maas Foundation Guest Artist and Speakers Series in the Department of Musical Theatre.
The Charles H. Gershenson Trust made a gift to the Charles H. Gershenson Technology Fund, which provides equipment to livestream and record performances.
Donald (BBA ’55, MBA ’56) and Betty Chisholm (BA ’56, MA ’60) made gifts to the Chisholm Jazz Masterclass Series Fund and the U-M Jazz Ambassadors Fund.
The Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation contributed to the Center Stage Strings Scholarship and String Enrichment Fund.
David Feldman (BA ’91) and Roni Jacobson contributed to the Nkeiru Okoye Residency and Commission Fund.
Jane (BBA ’86, MAcc ’86) and Dan Och and the David and Carole Caplan Charitable Foundation made gifts to the Carole Caplan Lonner Professorship in Musical Theatre and Visiting Artists Fund in Musical Theatre Writing.
Naomi Oliphant (DMA ’82) made a gift to the Dr. Naomi J. Oliphant Endowed Music Fund for piano students.
Judith (attended ’57) and Donald Rumelhart (MA ’70, MS ’73) supported the Friends of Musical Theatre.
Joanne and Bill Vuylsteke pledged support and made a gift to the SMTD Student Wellness Fund.
Alfred Wolin (BA ’54) pledged support for the Gershwin Operating Fund to sustain the Alfred and Jane Wolin Gershwin Initiative Managing Editor position.
The following individuals have very generously included the School of Music, Theatre & Dance in their estate plans.
The estate of Karl Easley (BA ’76) made a gift to the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.
Karla Hamelin (MM ’99) made a bequest intention to establish the Dr. Karla M. Hamelin Endowed Scholarship for cello students.
The estate of Mary Moon made a gift to the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.
Martha Sheil made a bequest intention to establish the Martha J. Sheil Scholarship for voice students.
George Valenta (BA ’55, MS ’60) increased his planned gift to the George J. Valenta Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate performers from the state of Michigan.
Please consider supporting the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Your support will have a very real impact on our students’ ability to forge ahead on their educational paths and share their many gifts with the world. Thank you!