Scholarship Supports Study Abroad Experience

Beall endowed scholarship brings studies to Italy through College of Music.

Sandy and Ken Beall

For Ken and Sandy Beall, charitable giving is a way they can show their appreciation for Michigan State University—a place that helped shape their lives. Their giving, they say, also allows them to support programs that can enhance the college experience, including the opportunity to study abroad.

In December 2014, the two MSU alumni established the Ken and Sandy Beall Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship in Piano through the College of Music. The scholarship—their second to the College following the establishment of their 2009 Beall Endowed Scholarship in Jazz Studies —reinforces their long-time support of College programs and students. In appreciation for their generous support of MSU, the Bealls are recognized in the Theophilus C. Abbot Society.

“Neither one of us has a musical background,” says Sandy, who received a bachelor’s of recreation administration and an MBA from MSU. “But when we saw the kinds of things the College of Music was doing, we had a strong desire to give and help provide opportunities for students.”

The Beall’s newest endowment supports students seeking educational opportunities through the College’s Study Abroad Program in Todi, Italy. The annual summer program is held in partnership with the Centro Studi Carlo Della Giacoma, and allows students to participate in master classes, concerts, and to gain firsthand knowledge of Italian culture and language.

“It was clear to us that there were students who were incredibly talented and deserving, but could not afford to study abroad through the Todi program,” says Ken who earned his bachelor’s in social science from MSU. “The endowed scholarship is a way we can help make that opportunity possible.”

Professor and Chair of the Piano Area Deborah Moriarty is among College of Music faculty leading the Todi program. She concurs that the gift from the Bealls will enable an increasing number of students to broaden their cultural understanding and musical abilities through study in Italy.

“Ken and Sandy Beall have been such amazing supporters of the College of Music,” says Moriarty. “Their generous and thoughtful endowment will give the ‘gift of study abroad’ to students who have dreamed of this but have never had the financial ability to realize that dream.”

While the Bealls themselves never studied abroad while attending MSU, their daughters did, participating in educational programs in Egypt, Antarctica, South America, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa.

“When our daughters traveled and studied abroad, their experiences really stood out to us,” says Ken. “The exposure and engagement with people of other cultures gives you a richer background and context to understand the world in which we live.”

All in all, the Bealls say their gifts circle back to the experiences, memories, and opportunities their family members were afforded through MSU. While the Bealls and their children constitute two generations of Spartans, Sandy’s father—a Native American—also attended and earned his bachelor’s from MSU on the GI Bill.

“It’s tremendously rewarding,” says Sandy of being an MSU benefactor. “It’s wonderful to think that you had a hand in giving someone an opportunity to do something they couldn’t otherwise do.”

In addition to their endowments, Ken also serves as a charter member of the College of Music National Leadership Council.

“Future excellence in the College of Music will increasingly be determined by private support,” says Dean James Forger. “The endowment established by Ken and Sandy Beall will have a significant impact on student learning in perpetuity, providing access on a yearly basis for life-changing student study abroad experiences. We are grateful for their active and generous partnership in the Empower Extraordinary Campaign and their investment in the future of the College of Music.”

For information on how you can support the College of Music, or to learn how to establish a named endowment, please contact Rebecca Surian, senior director of development for the College of Music, at or by calling 517-353-9872.

See Campaign in Action

Topics filed under:

Share this: