Music Department Hits High Note With New Scholarship

June 12, 2019


  • The Melissa Daniel Sizemore Endowment will support two annual $1,000 scholarships – one to a student studying organ and one to a student studying music education
  • The endowment will also support music programming and special projects focused on youth music education

student playing pianoROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – A new music scholarship will help expand opportunities for talented students in Winthrop University’s music program.

Ray Sizemore has created the Melissa Daniel Sizemore Endowment in memory of his wife, Melissa Hill Daniel Sizemore ’64, who passed away in March 2018. His wife’s dedication to music education, he said, could inspire Winthrop students following the same passion.

Mrs. Sizemore earned education and music degrees at Winthrop and Appalachian State University and taught elementary education and music for 38 years in Cherokee County, Laurens County, Lancaster County and Jacksonville, Florida.

The Sizemore family hopes to preserve her name, legacy and impact on the community through their gift.

“She touched so many lives in the education system and through music,” Mr. Sizemore said.

The endowment will support two annual $1,000 scholarships – one to a student studying organ and one to a student studying music education.

“We have an outstanding music education program where all of our graduates who seek a teaching position are placed every year,” said Donald M. Rogers ‘75, chair and graduate program director for the Department of Music. “With the high costs of a college education today, gifts such as this continue to ensure that we are able to attract and graduate quality musicians and teachers for the future.”
The Sizemore gift will also support music programming and special projects centered around elementary-level music education and youth music education, both passions of Mrs. Sizemore, who discovered music at a young age. The Gaffney, South Carolina, native came from a musical family and started playing the piano at the age of 9 and the organ at 15. 

Mr. Sizemore hopes the scholarship will encourage more young people to study the organ. Winthrop is fortunate to be home to the famed D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ, named after Winthrop’s first president and founder. Rogers said music students are incredibly privileged to have access to the historic Aeolian-Skinner organ, the largest of its kind in the Carolinas.

“Winthrop is indeed fortunate to have a world-class organ in Byrnes Auditorium that was completely renovated in 2010,” Rogers said.

Mrs. Sizemore was an organist and church musician for 23 years and spent her retirement years directing drumming groups and coordinating children's art camps.

For more information about how to support the Winthrop scholarship program or the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund, contact University Advancement at 803/323-2275.

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