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Foundation's Scholarships Lift Fortunes of New Generation Artists



LANSDOWNE, VA -- Jack Kent Cooke made his name in professional sports, including as owner of three-time Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. But he had another interest - the arts, a passion which, early in his career, led him to become a musician, composer, collector of art, and even a leader of a big band in Canada, where he was born and raised. Today, his legacy, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, is announcing the recipients of some of the largest, most competitive scholarships available in the fine or performing arts. The 10 recipients were chosen through a national competition and the review of an expert panel of arts leaders. The scholarships could be worth up to $300,000 each.

"Mr. Cooke understood that gifted men and women in the arts, particularly those with financial need, deserve special attention," said Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, executive director of the Foundation. "We are proud to help these talented individuals continue their education and take another step toward having their influence on the cultural life of our country."

The 10 recipients announced today were chosen following a national competition that attracted candidates from across the country. Candidates had to be nominated by their undergraduate colleges and submit arts portfolios, which were assessed by an expert panel of 12 reviewers that included leaders and curators from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Philips Collection, the University of Maryland School of Music, and other arts organizations. Selection criteria included artistic talent, overall academic excellence, a will to succeed, and financial need.

Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, dean of the graduate school at the Maryland Institute College of Art and a member of the arts review panel, said, "The students who earned these scholarships have demonstrated a special combination of artistic excellence and drive that set them apart from many other talented young artists. We can only look forward with great anticipation to the art they will create and share in the decades ahead."

Through the scholarships, the Foundation aims to help highly motivated, highly skilled artists overcome one of the biggest challenges to a career in the arts - the cost of advanced professional or graduate training. The value and duration of each scholarship, which can total as much as $50,000 per year for up to six years, varies based on the institutional cost of attendance and grants each student receives. The recipients include

  • Prema Kesselman, who this May gave her solo recital debut on flute at Carnegie Hall, including two pieces composed specifically for her;
  • Randy Regier, a sculptor of metal and wood who for most of his career was an auto-body mechanic; and
  • Nathan Stumpff, a former farmer who, as a composer of classical music, now draws on his deep relationship with the land for inspiration and who has been called the best student of music composition to attend Brown University in 35 years.


By the end of July 2005, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will have awarded more than 500 scholarships in its first five years. The Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. Besides scholarships for students attending graduate and professional school, notably in the arts, the Foundation offers scholarships to students from community colleges who want to earn four-year degrees, scholarships to help high-achieving youth develop their talents and abilities throughout high school, and related grants programs.


Alison D'Amato
Hometown: Haverford, PA
Undergraduate School: Haverford College
Graduate School Plans: Laban Centre (London)
Field: Dance
Age: 25

Daniel Gil-Marca
Hometown: Redlands, CA
Undergraduate School: University of California-Riverside
Graduate School Plans: University of Rochester Eastman School of Music
Field: Composing
Age: 28

Lars Henrick Jan
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate School: Swarthmore College
Graduate School Plans: California Institute of the Arts
Field: Theatre director, puppetry
Age: 27

Qing Jiang
Hometown: Zhenjiang, China
Undergraduate School: Arizona State University
Graduate School Plans: Juilliard School
Field: Piano
Age: 22

Sarah Joy Jordahl
Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Undergraduate School: Marymount University
Graduate School Plans: Maryland Institute College of Art
Field: Graphic design 
Age: 24

Prema Kesselman
Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ
Undergraduate School: Temple University
Graduate School Plans: Trinity College of Music (London)
Field: Flute
Age: 24

Harun Mehmedinovic
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Undergraduate School: University of California-Los Angeles
Graduate School Plans: The American Film Institute Conservatory
Field: Film direction
Age: 22

Randall Regier
Hometown: Abilene, KS
Undergraduate School: Kansas State University
Graduate School Plans: Maine College of Art
Field: Sculpture
Age: 41

Nathan Stumpff
Hometown: Liberty, ME
Undergraduate School: Brown University
Graduate School Plans: Manhattan School of Music
Field: Composing
Age: 26

Rebecca Zilinski
Hometown: New Paltz, NY
Undergraduate School: State University of New York-New Paltz
Graduate School Plans: School of Visual Arts (New York)
Field: Painting
Age: 29 






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