Bickford-Bennett Music Scholarship

Bickford-Bennett Music Scholarship

When you’re from a long line of prominent Lutherans, it seems only natural to be one yourself. At least that’s how Margaret Bennett felt. She was the granddaughter of David Lysnes, a Norwegian-American who helped to start the Augustana seminary. She was also the daughter of Ditman Larsen, a member of the first graduating class of St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Margaret and her whole family treasured the Lutheran tradition of fine music.

Margaret was blessed to have had two very good husbands—first, Leonard Bickford, who was employed by Sears for many years, and then Leland Bennett, who was a civil engineer and worked on the Casitas Dam.

In 1991 Margaret decided she would like to have a music scholarship at a Lutheran institution. She was living in Ventura, California, by that time, and through friends, she heard about the excellent choral program at California Lutheran University. With the help of Luther Tolo, she took steps to make her wish a reality, establishing a scholarship in memory of her two late husbands.

The Bickford-Bennett Music Scholarship was endowed by a stock gift from Margaret. Because she wanted to see it awarded in her lifetime, she allowed CLU to withhold from her gift sufficient funds for the first scholarship award. The Bickford-Bennett Music Scholarship was first awarded on Honors Day 1991. The scholarship is designated for a music major at the undergraduate or fifth-year level who is maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Margaret eventually moved back to Indiana where she spent her last years in a retirement home near family. She passed away in 2006, knowing that she had left a meaningful legacy through the scholarship.