Establishing a scholarship is one of the most meaningful ways of ensuring that  VanderCook College of Music’s tradition of excellence will always be available to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances. When you establish a scholarship, you directly help our deserving students realize their dream of earning a VanderCook degree and oursuing a successful teaching career.  VanderCook suggests 4 options to keep in mind as you consider how you can create a lasting legacy through a scholarship fund.

  • Donors make a one-time gift to establish a scholarship fund.  The money is invested (deposited) in an interest-bearing account.  Annual awards are made based on either a pre-determined amount or based upon the interest earned. The goal of this type of scholarship is to allow the principal to remain in perpetuity.  An example of this scholarship is the Merle Isaac Scholarship Fund with awards ranging from $1,000 - $2,500 annually.
  • Some donors prefer to establish a scholarship fund with a single gift and continue to make annual gifts.  This way, part of the annual gift is awarded as the scholarship with the remainder going into the fund to continually build the principal.  Ultimately, awards will be made solely from the interest earned.  To date, this has been the most popular vehicle, with opening sums ranging from $10,000 - $50,000.  Examples of this award are the Lew and Gerry Schmidt Scholarship Fund, The Keith R. Mardak Scholarship Fund, and The Morton and Iris Manus Scholarship Fund.  These scholarships make annual awards ranging from $1,000 - $2,000 annually.
  • Memorial funds are another way to create a scholarship fund.  Annual gifts are made from the memorial and family and friends often make contributions to help sustain fund growth.  Annual investments in the fund made by donors allow the college to award annual scholarships while realizing moderate growth in the principal.  Examples of this scholarship are the Victor Zajec Scholarship, The Lorraine Quinlan Scholarship and the Armond and Ann Menghini Scholarship.  Awards from these funds range from $500 to $1,000 annually.
  • Occasionally, an annual gift or a one-time gift is made to the college and is designated a a scholarship.  These awards are drawn from funds that are neither held nor managed by the college.

We encourage donors to determine the criteria for the awards.  Often this is done in consult with college faculty to determine the areas of greatest need at the college.  Examples include:  Lew and Gerry Schmidt’s award made to a student from Wisconsin with preference given to an instrumental (band) major; the Armond and Ann Menghini award for students from Michigan with preference given to instrumental (band) majors; and the Merle Isaac Scholarship for a string education major.

Other scholarship trustees allow the faculty to make the award based upon specific criteria such as a student’s GPA, level of service to the college, overall musicianship, or a particular instrument or voice.  This is how the Zajec Scholoarship recipient is selected.

As a tuition-driven institution, any gift you commit will be put to good use and will make a critical difference in the lives of our students.  You can be sure your scholarship will have a significant impact on VanderCook College of Music and the future of music education.

If you are considering establishing a scholarship fund at VanderCook and would like to discuss these options, please contact the Development Office at: 312-788-1131 or


VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288