UCSB’s Music Dept. received a $550,000 bequest to sponsor an ethnomusicology fellowship and fund a Scandinavian music scholarship.

The late Ardis Higgins — an honorary UCSB alumna who established numerous scholarships during her lifetime — left the substantial donation in the form of an endowment. A portion of the contribution will be distributed to an ethnomusicology graduate student while the remainder will support the scholarship.

Music Dept. Chair Paul Berkowitz said the donation will greatly enrich UCSB’s music program and honor Higgins’ roots.

“This wonderful gift will enable the department to support an additional graduate student in ethnomusicology — a growing area of academic interest — with enough funding to provide a stipend and cover rising UC fees,” Berkowitz said in a press release. “Scandinavian music relates to Ardis’ heritage. The scholarship will provide financial assistance for a student majoring in musicology or performance.”

Higgins was the former president of the Music Affiliates and UCSB General Affiliates, as well as a UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee and frequent donator to the Henry Eichheim Collection. The Northwestern alumna and award-winning organist also served as the chair of Santa Barbara City College’s music department and taught at Westmont College.

—Staff Report