Raimey-Noland Impact: Cultivating Diversity at the School of Music

Badger alumna and philanthropist Kathleen Harker ’66 has always been passionate about the arts, and after attending her first opera at the UW Memorial Union, her love of music presented in an entirely new way. Through her ongoing benevolence and steadfast conviction that music is for everyone, Harker is helping the School of Music develop a more diverse body of students.

In 2017, she established the Kathleen Harker Diversity Scholarship for Voice and Opera. This generous fund offers support for students from underrepresented backgrounds who wish to pursue a degree in voice and opera at the school and is open to graduate students, offering funding for two years, and undergraduate students for four years. Since 2018, Harker has provided more than $37,000 to BIPOC Badgers.

Donor generosity impacts students’ experiences while attending the UW as well as their lives beyond college. One recipient, DaSean Stokes MM’21, is now pursuing an MA in arts administration at Florida State University and will be singing at the Berlin Opera Academy this summer. Another recipient Benjamin Liupaogo DMAx’24 has gone on to become a lecturer in voice at Stanford University.

The Mead Witter School of Music values the contributions of all students, faculty, and staff regardless of their background, culture, identity, status, or abilities. They, along with donors like Harker, are focused on creating an inclusive and welcoming community that enriches the entire school and empowers faculty and staff, serving Wisconsin and the world.

“Kathy has been one of the true angels of the voice and opera program at the Mead Witter School of Music,” shares David Ronis, associate professor and director of University Opera. “For the last six years, BIPOC students who Kathy has supported have excelled at the UW and beyond, performing with choirs and orchestras at the school, forming the backbone of local church choirs, and singing in lead roles in University Opera productions. None of this would have been possible without her, and we are extremely grateful.”