Longtime Emporia residents R. Herschel and Augusta Shepherd established the Shepherd Scholars program at Emporia State University in 1994. Augusta Shepherd’s Memorial Concert Thursday night at Beach Music Hall on the campus of Emporia ESU honored the memory of Augusta Shepherd.
The 2022 Shepherd University Scholars Awards Ceremony and Concert is the first without the gracious presence of Mrs. Shepherd. The evening was devoted to his inspiring and heartfelt philanthropy.
The concert program included performances by several former Shepherd Fellows, including Ashlynne Bowles, soprano, and Andrew Villaca, baritone. Both received the Shepherd Scholar Prize in 2020. Two other 2019 Shepherd Scholar Scholars, Garrett van Arsdale, clarinet, and Tara Lierz, clarinet, were unable to perform due to illness, as was Kara Mason, soprano ( 2020).
MC Allan Comstock spoke of the 1997 renovation and expansion of Beach Music Hall, for which the Shepherds were major donors, and his long personal relationship with the Shepherd family. The Shepherd Music Center is housed in the addition on the north side of the Beach Hall.
With the Shepherd family consisting of daughters Joyce French and Judy Hawkins and son James Shepherd, over 100 people enjoyed the show.
The Shepherd Scholars Program is one of the major scholarship programs at ESU. More than 300 ESU students have received the plaques and scholarships that accompany this distinguished achievement. Shepherd Scholars represent academic excellence as well as those who demonstrate particular versatility, community involvement, creativity, and commitment.
To be considered for a Shepherd scholarship, the student must be an Emporia State University junior who has completed at least 60 hours of coursework and is one of the best academically. Shepherd Scholars are selected through a competitive application process led by ESU’s distinguished Roe R. Cross Professors.
Augusta Shepherd graduated from Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University) in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. She taught business classes at Admire High School for several years. Ms. Shepherd has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the ESU Foundation. She died on July 25, 2021, at the age of 98.
“It may be ESU’s best-kept secret,” remarked Joyce French. “The awards ceremony is quite unique, as the professors talk about their students receiving the awards. It’s inspiring.