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LaGow '77 memorial scholarship and departmental gift help music education students excel

Music education was always close to the heart of Michael LaGow '77.

LaGow studied music education at Augustana and played flute in the Augustana Symphonic Band (formerly the Augustana Band). Following his graduation, he continued his passion for music education by teaching flute lessons and playing in local music ensembles.

LaGow passed away in 2022, and his love for Augustana music education continued with a surprise estate gift directed to support the music education department.

Through his generosity, the Michael L. LaGow '77 Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established to provide financial support to aspiring music educators.

The scholarship will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the Gerber Grand Challenge in Philanthropy, immediately doubling its impact. A portion of the estate gift was designated to the music education department, paving the way for continued program growth.

Augustana music professors Drs. Michael Zemek and Dawn Farmer shared their thoughts on the impact of the scholarship, and music education major Joseph Boyd '28 shared his thoughts on the impact of the departmental gift.

Drs. Michael Zemek and Dawn Farmer

Dr. Michael Zemek

Dr. Michael Zemek

Dr. Dawn Farmer

Dr. Dawn Farmer

Beyond the financial support, how will the Michael L. LaGow '77 Memorial Endowed Scholarship empower recipients to excel academically and artistically?

This scholarship helps Augustana College become an even more obvious choice for those serious about studying music education. With this scholarship, we hope some of the financial pressure of school is lifted, allowing our students to spend more time on their studies and music-making as they pursue their goal of becoming music teachers.

How will this scholarship and departmental funding contribute to the long-term sustainability and growth of the music education program, both in terms of student enrollment and academic achievement?

Providing funding like this to our music education students will hopefully increase our already impressive retention rate. By helping to meet students' financial needs, we help them stay and thrive at Augustana College.

This gift allows us to invest in new materials, equipment and opportunities that will enrich every student's classroom experience, helping our students become successful teachers and prepared for their first year of teaching and beyond.

Augustana music education students are known for being excellent music educators. How will these gifts enhance the music department program at Augustana?

As we expand our offerings, we are helping to continue our tradition of having all music education students participate in local school music programs early and often. Music education students further foster these musical connections by participating in local and state professional organizations, creating important hands-on opportunities and networking in the field. This increased visibility in the community introduces Augustana’s outstanding music education program to a broader audience and promotes the achievements of our students and programs.

Joseph Boyd '28

Joseph Boyd '28

Joseph Boyd '28

Reflecting on your time in the music education program so far, how have you seen yourself evolve as both a musician and a future educator, and what specific experiences or opportunities have contributed most to your growth in these areas?

I had never taken a proper music class before I came to Augie, so when I was in real music classes, my eyes were opened. I learned so much in Musicianship I with Dr. Stone and Musicianship II with Dr. Schmidt. I learned how to analyze a score, how to tell what period or even composer a piece is from just by listening to a snippet of it, and how to write a Bach-style chorale.

On the music education side, being in ACME (Augustana College Music Education) has provided me with opportunities to learn from experienced and first-year music educators, as well as jump into the action myself and run a drum circle for elementary school students.

Can you share a particularly impactful moment that has shaped your understanding of music education and your aspirations as a future educator?

ACME held a service opportunity where some of us went to a local elementary school to help introduce music to young students. This is when I had the opportunity to run a drum circle. Those of us who went all enjoyed and benefited from the experience and were able to learn more about music education.

Every aspect of my life somehow connects to music, and it is that need and love for music that drives me forward.

Joseph Boyd '28

What stuck with me, though, is that one of the students who went wasn't even a music ed major. He went for the sake of keeping music alive and introducing it to the future generation. This absolute love for music that he has is something that many share.

This is something that I want to instill in my future students. I want them to go off into the world to do whatever great things they will do, all while keeping their love for music alive.

Why did you choose to study music education and why was Augustana College the perfect fit to realize your desire to be a music educator?

I chose to study music education because music is what I love doing. Every aspect of my life somehow connects to music, and it is that need and love for music that drives me forward. I want to make that central to my life and teach others how to appreciate music just like I do.

I chose Augie because of all the schools I visited, Augie felt the most like a home. The people were kind, and there was a connection between students and staff that I had not seen at other schools. Now, after my first year, I can confidently say I was not let down. The students are amazing and the faculty are knowledgeable and understanding, and they genuinely care about us.


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