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Birthday gift establishes
music and theatre arts scholarship

RELEASED: Nov. 10, 2010

Mary Imsdahl Claxton photo
Mary Imsdahl Claxton

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumnus Rick Schroder gave his wife, Evelyn Zabo, a special birthday present this year to honor her and her mother, Walli Zabo. He established the Evelyn and Walli Zabo Fellowship Fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation for students majoring in either music or theatre arts.

Evelyn, a graduate of Oregon State University, was named an honorary Blugold in 2010. A recognized leader in the systems integration field, she is a senior executive with Siemens, serving as the global Microsoft alliance leader. She also is an active supporter of higher education, and, along with Rick, is a member of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors. Evelyn has served on the Pacific Northwest Ballet board, provided leadership to PONCHO, an arts funding organization of Seattle, and is on the board of the Seattle Opera. Walli, an emigrant from Germany, has been a resident of the state of Oregon for many years.

The scholarship provides full tuition for a second-semester sophomore or junior who is majoring in one of the fields of study in the music and theatre arts department. The recipient must demonstrate excellence in scholarship and be recognized as a leader by both faculty and students in the department.

The award recently was made for the first time to UW-Eau Claire senior Mary Imsdahl Claxton, who is an Eau Claire resident majoring in music education. She is a volunteer with the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony and teaches at Menomonie schools, in addition to pursuing her studies at UW-Eau Claire.

"It was a great honor to receive the award," Claxton said. "It gives me the freedom to focus on students I am working with through the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony and the schools, which is a huge gift. I can give my best self to the students so they have some of the wonderful opportunities to learn music that I have enjoyed."

During the summer of 2009 Claxton worked as a music counselor at the Michigan Blue Lake Fine Arts Center, a summer school of the arts, which serves more than 5,300 gifted elementary, junior high and high school students.

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KH/DW

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