WILMINGTON -- Future UNCW music students have a reason to smile. The department just received its second $1 million endowment this semester. This endowment is the largest ever received by the department. And will be able to fund up to ten more scholarships for students. Senior Pedro Esparza is a performance major in UNCW's Department of Music. He says his scholarship has allowed him to pursue a degree that expresses his one true passion. "If it wasn't for the scholarships I wouldn't be here," he said. "Because the scholarships make it easier. I don't have to worry about tuition payments and gives me more time to focus on doing what I'm here to do." Esparza is one of about ten other students at UNCW's Music Department on scholarship. Now thanks to two recent $1 illion dollar endowments, even more students will be able to follow their musical dreams. UNCW Music Department Chair Frank Bongiorno said, "For us in the department of music it's very important since we are always working with students and student needs. And this will allow us to provide four times as much money for our students than we've had in the past," Esparza said. Overall, only 40 percent of UNCW's funding comes from the state, even though it's a state school. That means 60 percent comes from private sources, which makes endowments especially important for the school's growth. While donations in the one-million dollar range are more common for larger, high-profile departments like athletics, it's the largest ever received by the music department. "Certainly, when any department is high-profile they receive this type of recognition. I think that's what's happening here with the department of music. We've been working for many years to increase our visibility, going out into the community and state. And I think they're showing fruits right now." Fruits that students like Esparza will enjoy for many years to come. The latest endowment will also have a discretionary fund available for student and faculty travel, as well as for new instruments and equipment. The music department will hold its first concert in its new building next Wednesday, December 5. It will feature the top student musicians in the department.
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