$1 Million Gift for Music Scholarships

Posted on July 20th, 2006 by

This week, Gustavus Adolphus College received a gift in excess of $1 million to endowed music scholarships from Walter L. Youngquist ’42 of Eugene, Ore., in honor of his wife, Elizabeth Pearson Youngquist ’42.

“This gift reflects the momentum and continuing excellence in our music programs at Gustavus,” Vice President of Advancement Brenda Moore said. “It also helps make a Gustavus education accessible to all students — one of the college’s top priorities.”

The Elizabeth Pearson Youngquist Music Scholarship will be awarded under the Jussi Björling Scholarship program, with preference for students focusing on piano, cello, or organ, who have financial need, and meet the program’s criteria.

Elizabeth Pearson graduated from Gustavus in 1942 with majors in music, English, and speech, and married Walter in 1943. While a Gustavus student, she participated in the Gustavus Band, the Cathedral (Gustavus) Choir, the Choral Club, and debate and worked on the Gustavian Weekly student newspaper, earning membership in the national honorary journalistic society Alpha Phi Gamma.

Music is a significant part of Elizabeth’s life — from teaching music and English in Atwater, Minn. early in her career to providing accompaniment on an “unsecured” piano on a rolling ship deck somewhere between the Strait of Magellan and Morocco when Walter was teaching in the World Campus Afloat program (now Semester at Sea) in 1978. Her participation in and continuing love for music is reflected in the designation of the new scholarship.

The Youngquists had previously established endowments supporting the geology program at Gustavus. In 2001 Walter, among the preeminent petroleum geologists in the nation during his long career as a university professor, industry geoscientist, and energy company consultant, established a scholarship for students studying geology at the college and an endowed fund to support student research projects, field study, and equipment purchase in the geology department.

The Elizabeth Pearson Youngquist Endowed Music Scholarship will assist 15 or more Jussi Björling Scholarship recipients in its first year. The Björling Scholarship program honors the legacy of the great Swedish operatic tenor for whom the college’s Jussi Björling Recital Hall is named. Björling Scholarships are the primary financial aid grants recognizing and encouraging musical excellence and are awarded annually, on the basis of auditions and interviews, to selected high school seniors who have extensive and outstanding music performance experience in solo and ensemble settings and who show promise of further developing their artistry at Gustavus. Björling Scholarships are renewable for each year a student-musician qualifies and continues participation in music ensembles and lessons.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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