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$1.9 Million Estate Gift to Support Music Conservatory

Posted: Monday, February 7, 2022

The University of Evansville (UE) has received a $1.9 million gift from the Nancy Shepard Estate, with designation to three separate areas within the UE Music Conservatory.  

Nancy Shepard, who hailed from southern Illinois, attended Evansville College for elementary education. Halfway through college, she decided to change her major. In 1968, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education. After marrying her husband, Wesley, she earned a Master of Arts in 1971. She would spend the next three decades of her career as a band director for schools, instilling a love of music in thousands of students. 

The gift will fund three areas: the Nancy L. Shepard Endowed Scholarship for Wind and Percussion Students, the O. Wesley Shepard Memorial Scholarship, and the Nancy L. and O. Wesley Shepard Endowed Guest Artist Series. 

The Nancy L. Shepard Endowed Scholarship for Wind and Percussion Students will provide financial assistance for music education majors who wish to pursue a career as a band director. The O. Wesley Shepard Memorial Scholarship was established by his friends and former students upon his retirement in 1972. The scholarship supports students who are clarinet or music education majors and are part of the University band. 

As husband and wife, Nancy and Wesley were deeply involved in music and saw its purpose in expanding the minds and talents of students. They believed guest artists could have a positive impact on college music programs. The Nancy L. and O. Wesley Shepard Endowed Guest Artist Series will be utilized annually to welcome guest artists of significant stature to UE. The artist will work with students in the classroom or through master classes, and they will hold a music performance available for the enjoyment of the local community. 

“Our Music Conservatory is tremendously grateful for the generosity of Nancy Shepard and her passion for music that will benefit our students for years to come,” said Ken Steinsultz, co-director of the UE Music Conservatory and director of bands. “We are equipping music educators of the future who will carry on Nancy’s legacy and help generations of students, just as she did in her own career.” 

The UE Music Conservatory is a community of students and artist-teachers working together to achieve artistic excellence and professional results. Curriculum combined with active learning gives students the extensive experience needed for any degree offered, including music education, music therapy, and more. The Community Conservatory provides creative outlets for locals, including private lessons, the Suzuki method, summer camps, community ensembles, and classes. Become a member today at

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