Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 7:14 pm | Fair 64º


UCSB Music Department Receives $550,000 Endowment Gift

Donation from the late Ardis Higgins will establish a graduate fellowship in ethnomusicology and a scholarship in Scandinavian music

The Music Department at UCSB has received a $550,000 endowment gift to establish a graduate fellowship in ethnomusicology and a scholarship in Scandinavian music.

The contribution was in the form of a bequest from the late Ardis Higgins, an honorary alumna of UCSB. Throughout her life, Higgins was devoted to music education, both on campus and in the Santa Barbara community. She was an extraordinary UCSB volunteer and benefactor who helped generate scholarship support for many promising students.

“This wonderful gift will enable the department to support an additional graduate student in ethnomusicology, a growing area of academic interest, with enough funding to provide a stipend and cover rising UC fees,” said Paul Berkowitz, chair of music. “Scandinavian music relates to Ardis’ heritage. The scholarship will provide financial assistance for a student majoring in musicology or performance.”

Higgins served as president of the UCSB General Affiliates and the Music Affiliates, and was a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. She was particularly interested in world music and ethnomusicology, and, over the years, donated rare instruments to the Henry Eichheim Collection, one of the nation’s leading university collections of Asian instruments.

An accomplished organist, Higgins earned a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University. She was chair of the Music Department at SBCC, and later taught at Westmont College.

After she retired, she served as a consultant for the International Society for Music Education. She was also a member of the board of the Santa Barbara Symphony.


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