Dana adds scholarship in honor of band director

This semester, the Dana School of Music will establish a scholarship to honor the memory of Robert E. Fleming, Youngstown State University’s band director from 1968 to 1984. He died on Christmas Eve in 2011.

The Robert E. Fleming Memorial Scholarship will be available to students from the Dana School of Music once $10,000 is raised and invested. A $500 scholarship will be given out to one student per year.

All proceeds from the wind ensemble and concert band’s Nov. 19 show at Stambaugh Auditorium went toward the scholarship. The event featured the Dana All Star Band, which is made up of alumni band members.

Tickets to the scholarship dinner and the concert cost $60 for individuals and $100 for couples.

Catherine Cala, director of university development, said while ticket sales produced $2,000 for the scholarship, it is unknown how long it will take to meet the goal.

“We hope it will happen in a one-year period, but it could take two to three years,” Cala said. “The beauty of an endowed scholarship is that individuals can continue to contribute to it. It’s something that grows, and you don’t have to stop once you hit your goal.”Cala said the event was a good way to remember Fleming.

“The scholarship dinner leading into the concert itself [was] the kickoff event for our fundraising efforts for the Fleming scholarship,” Cala said. “Friends, alumni, students and the public will be able to donate to the scholarship.”

Stephen Gage, director of bands, said he considers Fleming to be a personal hero.

“Personally, Robert was not only my close friend and my mentor, but my hero,” Gage said.

Playing a benefit show for a scholarship in Fleming’s name may be especially important to some members of the Dana All Star Band.

“Many in the alumni band may have played under Fleming or came after [his time as band director],” Gage said. “His impact was profound on everyone in the school of music, from teachers to students.”

Individuals can continue to make contributions to the scholarship online or by visiting the YSU Office of University Development in Tod Hall.

YSU’s annual Phon-A-Thon in the spring will also give alumni the opportunity to donate. During the event, students from various departments will call alumni and ask for donations to scholarships and other fundraising efforts.

“Fleming influenced so many musicians in their lives and careers, so we expect they’ll want to support this endeavor,” Cala said.