Joe Walsh pledges funds for performing arts scholarship

Bo Gemmell

Kent State alum donates money for talent based scholarship

A rock guitarist donated money to an unusual scholarship for performing arts students at Kent State.

John Crawford, associate dean of the College of the Arts, said the gift from Joe Walsh, of the Eagles, is the first talent-based scholarship for performing arts.

“(Walsh) saw the need for scholarships that could be given to those who exhibit a great deal of talent,” Crawford said.

Nine incoming freshmen in performing arts who already met the critera for admission auditioned for the Joseph F. Walsh Scholarship on March 31.

Walsh, a former Kent State student, committed to a gift of $10,000 each year for four years.

Walsh wanted the university to handle the selection, Crawford said, and a selection committee of six chose the recipient.

Performing arts faculty members and finanical aid members judged the nine performers.

Crawford said four students from each of the three divisions in performing arts were eligable, but only nine were nominated.

Andrea Shearer, dance division director in the School of Theatre and Dance, said she and the other judges could give performers ratings ranging from superior to below average.

“We looked at the groups individually,” Shearer said. “Everyone was given a very fair and thorough decision.”

Crawford said the committee used audition criteria from each discipline. It asked performers about goals, dreams and aspirations, in addition to the audition.

“We really looked at how they communicated with the audience,” Crawford said. “We also interviewed them and met with each of them for about 10 minutes.”

Crawford said the students were notified and “the name (of the winner) will be public shortly.”

“We asked (Walsh) if he wanted to come to campus while we were doing this, but the Eagles are currently touring all over the place,” Crawford said.

Contact performing arts reporter Bo Gemmell at [email protected].