WMU News

Violin student earns first Fetzer Scholarship

March 5, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A violinist from Delaware, Ohio, is the first of four Western Michigan University students to receive a four-year $24,000 scholarship, thanks to a multi-year gift from the Fetzer Institute of Kalamazoo.

WMU freshman Kristen Tanner is the first recipient of the Rhea Yeager Fetzer Music Scholarship for students pursuing studies in string instruments--violin, viola, cello or double bass--in the University's School of Music. Tanner will receive $6,000 toward each of four years of undergraduate study. Additional four-year scholarships will be awarded to an incoming string music major in each of the next three years.

The Fetzer Institute established the four scholarships with a five-year commitment of $96,000 as part of the institute's 2001 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of institute founder John E. Fetzer. Rhea was John Fetzer's wife, and institute officers say they wanted to do something as part of the 100th anniversary celebration that would specifically honor her memory.

"Rhea Fetzer loved music," says Dr. David J. Sluyter, president and CEO of the Fetzer Institute, "and we suspect she would be pleased with a scholarship that supports young string students. The Fetzer Institute is pleased to use this scholarship program as a way to honor Rhea and celebrate the promise of talented young musicians like Kristen Tanner."

While at Delaware Hayes High School, Tanner was a quarterfinalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She also earned numerous other honors including summer study scholarships from the Delaware Music Club and the Ohio Music Teachers Association. Tanner was heavily recruited by several universities, including prestigious music schools in Cincinnati and Chicago.

Renata Artman Knific directs the string area in the School of Music. She calls the Rhea Fetzer Scholarships an investment in talent that helps WMU attract upper-echelon string students.

"The timing of this gift is impeccable," says Knific, "as we are now competing with the top music schools for the same students. The generosity of the Fetzer Institute helps us make it possible for these students to pursue their dreams and to enrich our community."

Kristen Tanner is a 2001 graduate of Delaware Hayes High School and the daughter of William J. and Bonnie Tanner of Delaware, Ohio.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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