Eye on UMSL: Lifting voices

by | Jan 30, 2023

Joanna Mendoza, Jim Henry and Deborah Godwin present a certificate of appreciation to alumnus Michael Rubin for establishing the Ambassadors of Harmony Foundation Scholarship.

Professor Joan Mendoza (at left), chair of the Department of Music, joins Associate Professor and Director of Choral Studies Jim Henry and Senior Director of Development Deb Godwin in presenting a certificate of appreciation to alumnus Michael Rubin

Professor Joanna Mendoza (at left), chair of the Department of Music, joins Associate Professor and Director of Choral Studies Jim Henry and Deborah Godwin, senior director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences, in presenting a certificate of appreciation to alumnus Michael Rubin (second from right) for helping establish the Ambassadors of Harmony Foundation Scholarship at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Rubin, who graduated from UMSL in 1968 with a degree in mathematics, serves as the director and secretary/treasurer of the foundation, which he helped found in 2017. He has worked closely with Henry, who in addition to his role at UMSL, is also a co-director of Ambassadors of Harmony.

“The mission that the foundation has is to support the Ambassadors of Harmony in what it’s doing, and what it’s doing primarily, besides trying to be the best chorus in the country, is trying to get as many music programs for high school area kids, especially kids who can’t otherwise afford to come to an event like the Acappellooza Summer Camp, where they spend four days or so learning music and then doing a show,” Rubin said. “We think some of those kids might even have higher aspirations like going on to a music education. In Jim Henry’s mind, there were some deserving kids who could use a little financial aid, and since the Foundation is doing a lot of fundraising, we could support that and be in a position to fund it. We wanted to formalize it just for the visibility of the foundation.”

The annual scholarship was established to support students interested in majoring in voice at UMSL with $2,500 to be awarded each year for four years to one or more students, depending on financial need. The first award will be made this spring.

“Hopefully, it’ll be someone with the talent to go on to take voice music curriculum as far as he or she wants to take it,” Rubin said. “If it’s someone who demonstrates financial need, that would be a good thing, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be someone deserving just from a talent standpoint.”

Rubin is pleased to see the opportunities students to day have to pursue music at UMSL. That was his passion too when he began as an undergraduate in 1964, but UMSL – then only a year old – did not yet have a music department, so he chose to major in mathematics. He took advantage of any opportunities he could find to sing and later became a longtime member of the Ambassadors of Harmony.

This photograph was taken by UMSL photographer August Jennewein and is the latest to be featured in Eye on UMSL.

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