Written by alumna Joyce Ann Hayes Harn, Class of 1956.
The theme of my words today has to do with TIME.
It is now 2021: This serves as both the beginning point, and for today my ending point.
Strange and wonderful and exciting how one event in a person's life can lead into another event several years later.
Hopefully, this round-robin will share its magic with you.
We are entering the 1950s next: My beautiful days at Miami University were from 1952-56, as a member of the Class of August 1956. If you remember me, you have to be pretty old. I celebrated my 88th birthday in February of 2021. While I was at Miami, I was blessed with scholarships and grants and jobs to help me through the financial aspects of my education.
Let me take you to 2008: Having retired from my teaching career of 33 years at the age of 55, I finally found the time to join a Woman's Club. It is called the Neptunian Woman's Club because of its proximity to the ocean at Manhattan Beach, California. The purpose of the Club is philanthropic. We hold events which raise money that goes to different town needs, such as the library, the fire house, etc. However, our greatest amount of money is spent on college scholarships going to very deserving high school seniors from our local schools. My next-door neighbor invited me to join her for the closing meeting for that season. It was quite a lovely affair. Luncheon was served in our clubhouse as we hosted the honored student scholarship recipients and their parents. The students came forward introducing themselves and stating their field of study and the university accepting them. The very first recipient nearly knocked me out of my seat! She was a music education student, and she was going to be attending the beautiful Miami University campus. After the luncheon, I had to go talk to the girl and her dad, Donald, to find out the "why" of her choice. It happened that she and a girlfriend visited several campuses that summer and she chose Miami above all the others because of its beauty, campus layout, gorgeous trees, and wonderful architecture, and of course academic opportunity.
Let me move you to another timeframe – 2020: I had a catastrophic fall in my home and did major damage to my right side. My very fine surgeon managed with the help of metal strips, screws, and staples to put "Jack" back together again. I was confined to the hospital for two months.
Later I was faced with additional medical life-threatening complications. My lungs ceased functioning normally. There were whispers, "Will she make it?" and "Chances are she might not…" I heard enough to consider my future – if there was one. I was placed on hospice care. My dear departed, husband, Keith and I had made plans to leave our home and all the fun stuff in it for our children and their children.
We had a savings account designed to be used for our retirement. I was faced with deciding the best use of this money. Now my mind went back to when I watched that young girl state that she wanted to use her scholarship to study music education at Miami University. I also remembered all the help I got from Miami through grants and scholarships and work programs in order to finish my own music studies.
This quickly led me to the beauty and magic of creating my own scholarship to help some other young persons in the future. It is truly overwhelming to realize the depth of how such a gift can change so many lives. These thoughts caused me to want to reach out to the young girl who inspired me to create the scholarship.
We have now returned to 2021: I didn't have the recipient's name, so I contacted the officers of the Neptunian Woman's Club and asked if they had the old records – and sure enough, they found her name in about two minutes. I spoke to her mother, Pamela. Pamela confirmed that her daughter, Piper Suzanne Redman, attended the event that day with her father, and that Suzanne is currently teaching music for fourth and fifth grade – near me in Long Beach.
That, my dear friends, is my blessedly happy story. And I am indeed grateful to have had the TIME to see my very special dream of assisting future music education students at Miami University come to fruition!
Joyce has named the Miami University Foundation as beneficiary of her retirement account to establish the Joyce Ann Hayes Harn Scholarship. This scholarship will help many future generations of Miamians studying in music education have the same great experience and opportunity that she had. There is still time for you to make an impact at Miami too – reach out to Miami's Office of Gift Planning at 513-529-1286 or GiftPlanning@MiamiOH.edu for assistance.