Home » Awards & Accolades » Musical Theatre Student Owen Scales Receives 2024 Presser Award

Owen Scales studio headshot with yellow background

Musical Theatre Student Owen Scales Receives 2024 Presser Award

Apr 17, 2024 | Awards & Accolades, News, Students

Owen Scales (BFA ’24, musical theatre) has received the 2024 Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award. Presented by the Presser Foundation, the award recognizes exceptional students in music studies at higher education institutions, recognizing those who have “demonstrated excellence in three categories – music and academic performance, leadership and service, and contribution to an inclusive community,” according to the foundation’s website. One student is nominated annually by SMTD faculty, and the award comes with a $3,000 cash prize for recipients to advance their musical studies.

“I am so honored to have been selected and so grateful for the initial nomination, for my time at the university, and for my time within this department,” Scales said. “To receive this honor as I conclude my time on campus is a dream that I did not know I had!”

Scales’s gratitude for his department is reciprocated by the faculty who have come to know him well over the course of four years. “Being one of the most distinguished performers and scholars in our department, Owen also exhibits leadership, curiosity, professionalism, and, most admirably, kindness,” said Linda Goodrich, professor emerita of music and interim chair of the Department of Musical Theatre. “The musical theatre faculty could not be more proud of him and thankful for the time that we’ve had the privilege of spending with him.”

Owen Scales studio headshot with yellow background

Owen Scales

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Scales chose SMTD because the students and alumni impressed him as having a “strong and independent understanding of theatre and its industry.” When interacting with current and former students, he noted a common thread in their responses to questions about their training: “They all credit Michigan for instilling in them the joy of performing and making their storytelling as human and real as possible.”

Among many memorable opportunities at SMTD, a standout for Scales was participating in the department’s New Works Festival during the 2022–23 academic year, an experience he described as “extremely artistically fulfilling.” During his final semester at SMTD, he will be appearing as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in the department’s production of A Little Night Music. His plans following his graduation in April involve moving to New York City to pursue a career as an actor and, importantly, “having wonderful friends and family that remain and create my ‘why.’”

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