Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Honoring Loved Ones with Memorial Scholarships 

Honoring Loved Ones with Memorial Scholarships 

Headshot of Jeremy HuberHeadshot of Dmitry VolkovHeadshot of Stephen KatesIn January 2015, Jeremy Huber, 18, a freshman in the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and a defenseman for the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team, died suddenly due to complications from pneumonia and flu. His teammates struggled with his death. Although lacrosse season had just started, “these guys are together so much,” says head coach Dave Pietramala. Members of the team had trouble sleeping or finding a way to move on. The team didn’t want Mr. Huber to be forgotten.

That’s when Mr. Pietramala had the idea to establish an endowed scholarship in Mr. Huber’s name. But the scholarship wouldn’t be for a lacrosse player. Instead, the team wanted to show that Mr. Huber, who had played piano since the second grade, was a well-rounded young man. They chose to establish the scholarship at the Peabody Conservatory. The lacrosse team started a fundraising campaign, and the Jeremy Huber #19 Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund in Piano was established in 2016.

When Mr. Huber’s family learned about the scholarship, “they were knocked off their feet,” Mr. Pietramala says. “This is a way for us to keep Jeremy and his spirit alive.” The first recipient of the scholarship is freshman pianist Yunhan Gu.

In a similar fashion, friends of Dmitry Volkov (AD ’13, Cello), a Russian-born cellist who died in his sleep in 2014, wanted others to remember him as a talented performer with a gift for communicating with the public. When Mr. Volkov played, “classical music became exciting to everyone in the room,” says Peabody cello faculty artist Amit Peled, who taught Mr. Volkov when he was completing his artist diploma at Peabody in 2013.

Wanting to honor him, Mr. Peled talked to Pennie and Gary Abramson, who grew close to Mr. Volkov after meeting him at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where Mr. Volkov studied for three summers. The Abramsons have since pledged to establish the Dmitry Volkov Memorial Scholarship in Cello, which will benefit a graduate student studying with Mr. Peled who has the same gift for communication that Mr. Volkov had.

“It’s such a great opportunity to help someone who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to have such wonderful training,” says Mrs. Abramson, adding that Mr. Volkov, who spent holidays and weekends at the Abramsons’ house, was like a second son to her. “Dmitry would have loved it.”

Mr. Volkov’s own studies at Peabody were supported by a scholarship: the Stephen Kates Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund in Cello. Mr. Kates was a cellist who was a longtime instructor at Peabody. His wife, Mary Louise Kates, knew her husband felt students should be able to focus on mastering their instrument without financial burden. She established the Kates scholarship in 2003.

Over the years, Mrs. Kates has received many cards from students who told her they wouldn’t have been able to complete their education without the Kates scholarship. These cards helped her through the “darkest days of my grieving period,” she says. Scholarship giving, she adds,
“is a beautiful tradition, allowing graduates and young professionals to lend a helping hand to the next generation of musicians.”

— Jennifer Walker