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Student Pianist Receives Endowed Keyboard Scholarship

To keep up with her demanding schedule, junior piano performance and pedagogy major Yukiko Kitajima flies about campus much the way her fingers fly across the keyboard when she performs. In addition to taking classes, the talented musician from Yokohama, Japan, accompanies and sings in the women's choir, plays violin and piano in the string ensemble, teaches piano lessons, and plays music in the pediatrics unit at Sacred Heart Hospital through Whitworth's service-learning program.

And those are just her Music Department-related pursuits. Elsewhere on campus Kitajima serves as her dorm's cultural diversity advocate, co-leads an international-student Bible study, performs sacred dance as a member of Whitworth's dance troupe, Jubilation, and coordinates activities for the International Club.

To help support her study of music and to honor her embodiment of faith in action at Whitworth, Kitajima was selected as the first recipient of the Bonnie V. Robinson Endowed Keyboard Scholarship. Trustee John Scotford, '51, and his wife, Judy, established the scholarship in 2000 in recognition of Bonnie Robinson, wife of Whitworth President Bill Robinson, and her distinguished career and ministry as a classical pianist and concert organist. The annual scholarship is awarded to an outstanding piano or organ student to help fund his or her study of music at Whitworth.

"I am very thankful for Mr. and Mrs. Scotford's and Bonnie Robinson's kindness," Kitajima says. "The scholarship has not only helped me financially; it has motivated me to do my best because people who did not know me decided to support me and my love of music."

Receiving a scholarship honoring Bonnie Robinson was an added bonus for Kitajima. "She is one of the ladies at Whitworth whom I want to be like when I grow up," Kitajima says.

The Scotfords' generosity and support spurred on Kitajima as she spent hours practicing for last May's Greater Spokane Music and Allied Arts Festival, now known as Musicfest Northwest. Kitajima's diligence paid off; she won a gold medal in the impressionism division, which sealed her desire to pursue a career as a concert pianist. But first, Kitajima plans to accomplish more pressing goals.

"After I graduate from Whitworth I want to earn a master's degree in music therapy and teach piano to children in Third-World countries," she says. "I want to provide them joy, hope and strength through music."

The same joy, hope and strength Kitajima has discovered as a student of music at Whitworth.

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