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Halen's Teaching Legacy Honored through New Music Scholarship

Whether it was nurturing the growth of countless music students or helping his two sons evolve into professional musicians, Walter J. Halen will always be remembered as an exceptional teacher.

Walter Halen teaching at UCM
Walter J. Halen is remembered for his 22 years of teaching music at UCM.

His memory and the contributions he made to the success of music students at UCM are being honored through the Dr. Walter J. Halen Scholarship for String Students. The endowment was started this summer by a gift from his wife, Thalia Halen of Houston, through the UCM Foundation.

"For more than 20 years, Walter Halen was a vital part of the Department of Music. The students who played under his direction in the University Symphony Orchestra and those who studied violin and viola with him loved him and respected him," said William McCandless, interim department chair. "He was respected as a composer and performer, and performed many times on the Hart Recital Hall stage."

The Halen scholarship is for a UCM student who plays the violin, viola, cello or string bass and shows potential of becoming a good performer and/or teacher. The recipient must also perform in the university orchestra.

Halen, UCM professor emeritus of music, died in May 2005 at the age of 75. He resided in Houston the last five years of his life, where he also found great joy teaching young violin students. Prior to coming to UCM in 1967, Halen launched his career in education as a public school strings and orchestra specialist in Ohio. He went on to teach at Drury College in Springfield, MO, and served as concertmaster of the Springfield Symphony.

His awards were numerous and included two teacher recognition honors from the Music Teachers National Association, the Achievement in Music Award from Ohio University, the Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award at UCM, and the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, the top honor given by UCM to a faculty member. In 1992, he was named the first recipient of the “Artist Teacher” Award from the Missouri American String Teachers Association.

Thanks to the new scholarship in his name, Halen's passion for music and his desire to nurture student success will now live on at UCM.

By Jeff Murphy '76 hs, '80, '95