Alumnus Establishes Endowed Music Scholarship As Thank-You Gift

May 16, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor alumnus Dr. W. Scott Livesay and his wife, Marilyn, of Waco recently established The Kurt and Patricia Kaiser Endowed Music Scholarship Fund for Baylor University students enrolled in the School of Music and to honor Kaiser for his contributions to Christian music and the Baylor music program.

The Livesays also wanted to thank Kaiser in a most unique way for playing the music at their daughter's wedding this past December.

"The Kaisers were most gracious to our family during such a busy time of the year," Dr. Livesay said. "We decided it would be a wonderful idea to establish a scholarship in honor of our friendship and to do something special for Baylor in which students would continue to benefit from this gift."

A venerable composer, arranger and recording artist, Kaiser served as vice president and director of music for Word Inc., a publishing and recording company for Christian communications, now known as Word Publishing. He has copyrighted more than 300 songs, such as "Pass It On" and "Oh How He Loves You and Me," and recorded 16 solo albums at the piano, including the Dove Award-winning "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs." In 1992, Kaiser was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for his contributions to the Christian music industry.

Both Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and Dr. William V. May, dean of the School of Music, lauded Kaiser for his life-long accomplishments in music composition. They also commended the Livesays for their commitment to the music school and its students.

"The Livesays have provided a great opportunity to help students attend Baylor, and their scholarship makes the difference for many who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education," Sloan said. "In addition, it is an honor for Baylor to be associated with the Kaisers -- their name alone adds luster to the university and the music program at Baylor."

Dean May added, "I am grateful to the Livesays for all they have done to enrich the music school, and we are especially excited about the impact this scholarship can have once others know about this fund and want to give in honor of Kurt Kaiser. Kurt has meant so much to the music school for many years and has influenced so many of our graduates.

"The music school's number one need is scholarship support to attract talented music students," he said. "We expect this scholarship fund to grow through the help of alumni who had direct contact with Kurt, which in turn will further strengthen our music program."

Kaiser studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and earned two degrees from Northwestern University. He also holds an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Trinity College in Illinois and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Baylor.

He also directed the renowned Baylor Religious Hour Choir (BRH) from 1965 to 1970.

"As director of the BRH choir, I had an opportunity to try new things with students, and we all learned so much," Kaiser said. "I experienced so many wonderful times of togetherness with my students, and I have seen many of my former students go on to do great things. I hope this scholarship will grow and students will really benefit from this opportunity provided by the Livesays."

The Kaisers have lived in Waco since 1959, and have four children, all of whom attended Baylor, and 10 grandchildren.

"We appreciate their friendship so much, and they have been so much a part of Waco," Dr. Livesay said. "Without Kurt and his extended family's influence, Waco would not be the same -- he truly has enriched this community."

The endowed scholarship will provide assistance to students attending Baylor University and majoring in music. The scholarship fund was established with the intent that friends, family, colleagues and former students can make additional contributions needed to begin distributing scholarship funds. For more information on how to make a gift to The Kurt and Patricia Kaiser Endowed Music Scholarship Fund, contact Sonja Hogg in university development at (254) 710-2561 or 1-800-BAYLOR-U, option 4.

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