A West Virginia University School of Music alumnus has endowed a music education scholarship in honor of her beloved professors.
Nancy Douglas attended WVU from 1952 - 1956. During her time as a music education major, faculty members Clifford Brown and Bernard McGregor left a lasting impression.
“Bernard McGregor was my church choir director, my voice teacher, my advisor and counselor, and generally my go-to person,” Douglas said. “Whereas I respected Clifford Brown so much as a choral director and instructor. I remember him vividly as an incredible choral director - his affable style influenced me immensely.”
Douglas considered Brown and McGregor as family members, the duo played a large role in helping the Sutton native manage the ins-and-outs of college.
“My confidence in my ability to perform was greatly enhanced by Professor McGregor because of the high standards he had for me,” Douglas said. “Before graduating from WVU I had the opportunity to sing with informal groups, in major choral works and to perform solo work. This prepared me to move forward to graduate school at the University of Maryland, where I completed a Master’s Degree in Music Education.”
During her 50-year tenure in education, which included elementary through college-level instruction, Douglas held both supervisory and administrative positions and offices in various honoraria’s and professional organizations. She was honored as the Kanawha County Educator of the Year in 2001 and retired as the Director of Federal Education Programs for Kanawha County Schools in 2007.
“My experiences in life as a music educator would not have been possible without Bernard McGregor or Clifford Brown,” Douglas said. “They both encouraged me to become involved in national music education organizations, and I even attended national conferences - not something many women were given the opportunity to do in the 1950s!”
The Nancy McNary Douglas Endowed Music Education Scholarship will allow recipient music education students to attend WVU with less financial burden. While here, it is Douglas’s hope that students will benefit as much as she did from the School of Music Faculty.
“At WVU, I was given the opportunity for really broad experiences, from glee club to solo’s to traveling to perform,” Douglas said. “When you have exposure to great mentors like McGregor and Brown, you start to believe in yourself. McGregor and Brown embodied the values you want for students. They were standard bearers and I’m honored to have studied under them.”