Betty Shirey Bowen Memorial Scholarship

Betty Shirey Bowen Memorial Scholarship

Herbert Spencer called music “the highest of the fine arts” because it is “the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare.” It is an observation with which scholarship donor Betty Shirey Bowen would certainly have agreed.

From the beginning Betty Shirey Bowen was enthusiastic about the new Lutheran college being created in Thousand Oaks. She knew how vital music would be to its success, and she wanted to be a part of the new venture. In 1961 she became one of CLC’s founding faculty and a member of the music department, where she held the rank of professor until her death in 1984. But that doesn’t begin to tell her story or describe her influence.

Betty began her career as a soloist and orchestra violinist while still a child. She earned her bachelor of music degree “with great distinction” from the College of Music in Cincinnati, where she was awarded the Springer Gold Medal Award of Merit in 1946. She received her master’s degree in music in 1949. In her career she performed throughout the United States and in Europe.

When she came to Thousand Oaks, she was the founding concertmaster of the CLC Conejo Symphony Orchestra and the founding conductor of the Conejo Youth Symphony. She also served as music director for Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, for Our Savior’s Lutheran in Simi Valley, and for Salem Lutheran in Glendale.

In addition to her active professional career, Betty and her husband Carroll had two sons, who both attended and graduated from CLU. The eldest followed in his mother’s footsteps by becoming a musician and composer in the music industry.

For all Betty’s many contributions to the campus and the community, the Green Room in CLU’s Preus-Brandt Forum was dedicated in her honor in 1985, appropriately, with a memorial concert.

In summarizing Betty’s impact in their lives, her colleagues wrote, “Betty’s influence as a performer and teacher touched all areas—solo playing, string quartet, chamber music, and leading the large string section of the symphony. . . . Hers was an unusual gift—the ability to play difficult music with ease and with sensitivity and deftness of the real artist. ”

Memorial and tribute gifts created this scholarship, but it was faithful gifts from Betty’s family that brought it to endowment level. The Betty Shirey Bowen Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a music major at the sophomore or above class level.