Robert and Robin Holmes establish GSE’s first scholarship for aspiring arts educators

Ethel Ray (Robin Holmes’s grandmother), music teacher and choir director, and her church’s prize-winning parade float in 1961.

Ethel Ray (Robin Holmes’s grandmother), music teacher and choir director, and her church’s prize-winning parade float in 1961.

Inspired by the memory of Robin Holmes’s grandmother, Ethel Ray, who taught music in the public schools of Vernonia and Willamina, Oregon, Robert and Normandie (Robin) Holmes have established the Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Scholarship for Fine and Performing Arts Educators in the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Through an estate gift, the Holmeses have also generously provided for the endowment’s future growth. The GSE’s first scholarship for aspiring arts educators, it will provide support to fine and performing arts graduates of PSU’s College of the Arts who plan to pursue careers as arts education teachers and have been accepted into the GSE. The first award will be available in the fall of 2016. The Holmeses also support other funds at PSU, including the Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship in the College of the Arts and the Normandie and Robert Holmes Endowed Collection Fund in the Branford P. Millar Library.

Robert and Robin Holmes have had successful careers in public accounting, telecommunications, government, and education. Their lives have been deeply enriched by experiences related to the arts, and they have always been supporters of the performing arts in the communities in which they have lived. They believe that the arts education they received in public school was a major factor in developing this interest and that an arts education is a critical element in an individual’s overall education. They have witnessed the important role that arts educators play in the broader community as well, supplying professional support to local theater, music, and arts groups. Robin Holmes said:

“GSE graduates who become arts educators will no doubt be remembered by their students as they recall the life-changing, life-enhancing experiences of school plays, marching bands, and choir trips. And the communities in which those teachers live will no doubt be enriched by their contributions.”

The Holmeses are committed to supporting gifted teachers who will transform the lives of young people and enrich their local communities by offering instruction in music, art, dance, and theater in the schools. This scholarship honors Robin’s grandmother, Ethel Ray, and all the teachers who make arts education their life’s work. About her grandmother, Robin said, “I remember her…pursuing a dedicated professional life, and I sensed the same commitment in the music, art, and drama teachers I was fortunate to have throughout my school years in Coquille.”

Thanks to the Holmeses, the GSE has a permanent funding source to assist aspiring arts educators on their career paths, and thus inspire the next generation of artists, musicians, performers, parents, business leaders, and patrons.

You can join the Holmeses in supporting aspiring educators in the Graduate School of Education. To discuss options, please contact Jaymee Jacoby, GSE director of development, at 503-725-4789 or jjacoby@pdx.edu, or make a gift today.

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