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Our History

As remembered by Past President Margaret Mary Coleman

On Oct. 5, 1953, a small group of women met and formed the Duquesne University Advisory Board. Mrs. John T. Ryan, Jr. was the first president. They were women of diversified interests, but they were bound together by a common bond of faith in the high quality of education offered at Duquesne. They were organized to assist in the plans of the University's most eminent president, Fr. Vernon Gallagher. Since their contributions were in the social and cultural field, they had both a spiritual and material nature; the latter being best exemplified in the Scholarship Found established for the School of Music.

In the first year of the our existence, we hosted the following events:

* Dedication of Assumption Hall, a dormitory for women
* St. Joan of Arc at the Stake presentation
* Faust was presented by a Vocal Workshop
* Schools of Business and Law ground breaking ceremony
* Verdi's Il Trovatore production

As time went on, the members hosted many formal and informal affairs at the request of the President, Fr. Vernon Gallagher. For several years, members held a welcome tea for freshman girls. At the same time, periodicals, magazines, subscriptions, and out-of-town papers were purchased and placed in the libraries of Assumption and St. Ann Halls. Later, a memorial committee was formed. Many excellent and valuable volumes in the main library, are gifts of the Women's Advisory Board in memory of loved ones.

However, the day arrived when young women were no longer interested in teas, and also abandoned dormitory libraries in favor of the main University Library. The Board then offered other activities such as boat rides on the three rivers, champagne receptions for the freshmen and their escorts, and a fashion show where models were taught the art of applying makeup.

During all these years, the highlight of the Board's calendar was a Ball held in the late fall, which become synonymous with red roses. All the tables were lavish with two dozen American Beauties spilling over the pristine white cloth.

Duquesne University Women's Advisory Board added another highlight to its calendar--the President's Commencement Dinner. At this event, Fr. McAnulty, president of Duquesne University, hosted recipients of honorary degrees, the Executive Board, the Board of Directors, and the Holy Ghost Fathers.

Many women of brilliant and exciting memory are still spoken of with soft and fond recall: Mrs. Dominic Navarro, Mrs. Thomas M. Jones III, Miss Josephine T. O'Neill, Mrs. Andrea Iversen, Mrs. Christine Rocereta, and Mrs. William Seifert to name a few.

Now, 60 years later, the members of the Women's Advisory Board continues to fundraise and support the intellectual and spiritual growth of the Duquesne University community. We continue the tradition to provide scholarships for deserving students and supporting the mission of Duquesne University. In particular, the Board hosts an annual fall wine tasting fundraiser and in the spring award a scholarship to the winner of the Mary Pappert School of Music competition. Today, we turn our attention to another important initiative that will support future generations of the Duquesne community-growing our membership and expanding our presence on campus. Consider joining us and making a difference in the lives of deserving students.

History of Music Scholarship

On November 19, 1990, handwritten notes report that the Executive Board met with Dean Kumer in the Music School who wanted to change the way scholarships were awarded. The Executive Board met to discuss the role of DUWAB, the scholarship question, and the continued sponsorship of the President's luncheon.

In January 1991, it was suggested that a senior be the recipient of the WAB scholarship and that a WAB member be on the "selection board and share in the scholarship decision." It was recommended that the University would assume the responsibilities of the President's luncheon so the Advisory Board could use all their funds for the senior scholarship.

A new scholarship format was discussed on February 18, 1991 and the following guidelines defining the senior scholarship were drafting:

  1. The Scholarship shall be awarded for excellence in Music.
  2. The Scholarship shall be awarded to an incoming Senior who has completed his/her sophomore and junior year at DU.
  3. The Scholarship shall be awarded to a student chosen by an outside jury of three impartial judges with no affiliation to DU. The judges are to be suggested by the Dean of the School of Music with the assistance and approval of the WAB.
  4. The Dean of the School of Music and the President of WAB or a designated member shall be present at the competition.
    Publicity is to be promoted before the awarding of the Scholarship and afterwards.
  5. The students for the Scholarship Competition are to be chosen by the Dean of the School of Music and his Scholarship Selection Committee.


Thank you notes from two students in the School of Business 2014:

My name is Tara Llewellyn, and I had the immense honor of receiving the Women's Advisory Board scholarship in the amount of $2000 this spring. A simple letter could not express my gratitude. This award has already given me opportunities that would otherwise be unattainable.

I sincerely appreciate you considering and presenting me with this award, and I hope I can continue to meet and exceed the expectations of Duquesne School of Business as well as the Women's Advisory Board.

With gratitude,

Tara E. Llewellyn


Women's Advisory Board,

I want to thank you for awarding me the Scholarship. College is a huge expense, and this scholarship will help with those costs. I really appreciate it

Julie Wetzel

School of Music Competition

Thank you note from 2014 Music Competition Winner:  James Austin Allen

Dear Women's Advisory Board,

I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the incredible opportunity and gift you have given me through the women's advisory competition. It was an honor playing alongside all of my fellow musicians as we have had the opportunity to learn and grow side by side for the last three years.
The competition was an exciting way to begin the end of a long but fruitful year and the scholarship will help immensely in the year to come.
Thank you for those of you I was allowed to perform for and I hope to be able to meet and play for many more of you in the year to come.
Once again thank you for this truly gracious gift. Have a wonderful rest of the year.

James Austin Allen

Over 40 people gathered to listen to Austin James, Women's Advisory Board Scholarship Recipient, play on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary Pappert School of Music.  James's concert lasted more than 30 minutes.   The crowd then proceeded to the a private reception ata the Red Ring Restaurant.  Members brought guests.  The wonderful food was enjoyed by all.  Throughout the evening, Kamie Shoonhoven provided a video for our entertainment.   

Thank you to Kathy Connelly, Ann Heinauer and Courtney Cox.   Thank you to our members for your support.  And thank you to our new friends.  We hope to see you again.


Comments from Music School Scholarship Winners:

Dear Duquesne University Women's Advisory Board,

Congratulations on the Board's 60th year Diamond Jubilee Anniversary! I am honored to accept the scholarship this year. As an interational student, being acknowledged overseas has a great impact on me. It gives me more confidence in developing my career. Currently I am applying for graduate schools in New York and California. In the meantime, I will participate in various piano competitions. Again, I am very grateful for the scholarship. I have a passion for music, and I will never let go of my big dream.

Yuting, 2013 Scholarship Winner

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I really can't say more about the positive impact that this award had on me both personally and professionally. At the time, I was a married college student barely making ends meet with a joint income of about $1000/month. My parents were unable to support me financially at all and my husband and I were working multiple jobs while taking a full load of classes just to pay rent. I relied entirely on scholarships and grants to fund my college education and this scholarship provided me with the ability to complete college, period. As a singer, I was dumbfounded to have received the award amongst a group of incredibly talented vocalists and instrumentalists. (I think I cried so much they couldn't use my picture because of my horribly smeared mascara!) Not only did this provide me with a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue the pursuit of my musical dreams, but also provided the entire vocal department a much deserved place of recognition for musical excellence.

I have kept up my singing, however have found myself engaging my organizational and leadership skills more towards an arts administration career. I currently work at The Music Center; Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County designing and managing partnerships between schools, districts and networks of schools across LA County including short and long term teaching artist residencies, teacher professional development, parent engagement and teen career development programs. I also serve as President of Museum Educators of Southern California, overseeing a board of 17 Museum Education Directors providing networking and professional development opportunities to informal educators and museum professionals throughout the Southern California. Below is a link to my LinkedIn page so that you can have a more comprehensive idea of my path from college to career.


Thank you so much for reminding me of this wonderful and exciting time in my life. I think I'll go home tonight and sing the aria that won me the award, the "Bell Song" from Lakme, to my 1 ½ year old daughter and 3 year old son. I'm not sure if I can still hit the high "e" but I'll try. (Hopefully they'll enjoy hearing the vocal acrobatics as much as I enjoy doing it.)

Thanks again,

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Thanks to the generosity of the Women's Advisory Board grand prize scholarships (awarded 1980 and 1983), my 30 year career of piano solo, concerto, and chamber music performances throughout the US, Canada, South America, and Europe was launched. The scholarships helped provide opportunities for me to connect and share the gamut of musical expression and thought found in the great works of musical literature with audiences and colleagues from around the world. I am currently in my 28th year as a piano professor at Chatham University and continue to concertize.

Best Wishes to you and DUWAB for continued success,

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The award I received from the Women's Advisory Board was critical in my development as an artist/scholar. Studying at Duquesne with master musicians such as John Wilson and Joseph Wilcox Jenkins enabled me to develop the artistic skills I utilize daily as a performer and as Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. I continue to be thankful to all concerned for the opportunities this award made possible. Thank you!

Don Aliquo/Bio
An active performer, recording artist and jazz educator Don Aliquo has performed in concerts and recordings with leading jazz artists including Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Greg Osby, Harold Danko, Andy Laverne and many others. He has released five solo CD projects and recorded collaboratively and as a sideman in many others. Since 1999, Don has held a faculty position at Middle Tennessee State University near Nashville, where he is currently Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies. An active jazz educator, Aliquo has presented clinics and master classes at festivals and universities throughout the United States.

Don Aliquo
Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies
Middle Tennessee State University

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I received the letter from DUWAB. I very much appreciated being awarded the DUWAB scholarship. It enabled me to complete my undergraduate study with minimum debt, which, in turn, enabled me to continue to pursue further career development. After I completed my undergrad in music performance, I continued and completed a PharmD at Duquesne. I am a clinical pharmacist at Mount Carmel Health in Columbus currently. I really enjoy my career, the opportunities to care for patients. It was made possible partly by the scholarship. Thank you very much.

Bo Cheng

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The Women's Advisory Board Scholarship gave me a chance to grow as a musician and performer. Winning the award gave me confidence in my performing abilities, and helped me to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses in my piano playing. College life in Music School can be very competitive and sometimes very discouraging. It's nice when a student gets a "boost" and recognition by their peers. My Senior Year at Duquesne University began with winning the Women's Advisory Board Scholarship, and it certainly helped to guide me in preparation for what was to be my Senior Recital.

I am currently residing in New York City where I perform regularly at the famed Carlyle Hotel. Performances at the Hollywood Bowl and world tours with Liza Minnelli. Some recording credits include an international release on the Max Jazz label entitled "A New Kiss" that features Branford Marsalis. Also, the J.S. Bach Sonatas for Piano and Flute with world renowned flutist Hubert Laws. I have performed in Carnegie Hall with violinist Regina Carter.

David Budway

Each year, the Women's Advisory Board holds an undergraduate music scholarship competition open to students in their Junior year at the Mary Pappert School of Music.

The winner of the competition receives a major ($10,000 or more) tuition scholarship, and performs at the annual WAB fundraiser. A runner-up winner(s) may also be chosen for a partial tuition scholarship at the discretion of the judges.

Past winners of the competition

1980 David Budway Piano
1981 Paul Sisco Piano
1982 Beth Boisvert Euphonium
1983 James Armstrong Trombone
1984 Timothy McFadden Trumpet
1985 Robert Morrison Trombone
1986 Melissa Unger Flute
1987 Christopher Brown Percussion
1988 Marjorie McClean Voice
1989 Amy Orsinger Flute
1990 Marjorie McClean Voice
1991 Don Aliquo Saxophone
1992 Shawn Purcell Guitar
1993 Christopher Thomas Jazz Guitar

John Caputo

Brett Dietz



1995 Julian Ayers Trombone
1996 Gabriel D'Abbruzzo Piano
1997 Elizabeth Keadle Harp
1998 Shawn Galvin Percussion
1999 Bo Cheng Harp
2000 Lisa Pegher Percussion
2001 Emily Doerfel Voice
2002 Kirk Ferguson Trombone
2003 Anne Berry Cello
2004 Michael Dingfelder Euphonium
2005 Rachel Joseph Harp
2006 Catherine Schaefer Piano
2007 Dmitri Koval Piano
2008 Xiao-Yuan Huang Piano


 John R. Sullivan



Devin Di Mauro 



 Leigh Poulton



 Brennan Elliott

 Classical Guitar


 Yuting Zhou



 James Austin Allen


Women in Graduate Programs

Additional monies raised are given to the Deans of Schools as follows:

  • 2008 Pharmacy & Liberal Arts
  • 2009 Music & Nursing
  • 2010 Natural and Environmental Science & Education
  • 2011 Law & Health Science
  • 2012 Business & Leadership and Professional Advancement

While the Board prefers to see scholarships given to women in graduate programs, these awards can be dispersed at the Deans' discretion.


Remaining monies will be distributed to other campus philanthropic acts in accordance with our mission.