You cannot spin 60 years of dedication to a particular craft any other way: Bea Chauncey lived for music.
Bea has invested most of those 60 years in music at East Carolina University's School of Music. And through her donations and planned gifts to the school, she has ensured her voice can be heard in the halls of the School of Music for generations to come.
A member of the faculty at East Carolina University's School of Music for 41 years, Bea came to ECU in 1949 after teaching stints in Montana, California and Florida. At that time, East Carolina was still East Carolina Teachers College and there was an elementary training school on campus where student teachers could practice, teach and observe other teachers.
Bea taught music at the training school, as well as teaching college students at East Carolina and music courses at two other public schools in Greenville.
"My days were a potpourri," Bea says. "It was a different way of doing things. I was paid half by the city and half by the college."
Playing Mus ical Chairs Bea, originally from Akron, Ohio, earned her bachelor's degree in music at the University of Akron in 1943, one year early because the government was urging women in particular to graduate early to help the war effort. After spending one year teaching in Greybull, Mont., Bea moved to New York City to earn a master's degree in music education at Columbia University. After teaching in California and Florida, Bea was offered a job at East Carolina Teachers College.
"All my father's brothers and sisters lived in this area of eastern North Carolina," she says. "When I was growing up in Akron, we would come visit them in the summertime."
Bea was hesitant to move to Greenville because, "I knew what this life was like, living on a tobacco farm," she says. Comparing it to her time living in New York City, Bea recalls, "Living in New York City was wonderful. I went to all the theater, every opening of every play. They got tickets for us, living in the dormitory at Columbia, for $3.45 to go to an opening of a play."
It's Still About The People Bea decided to take the job as flute professor and educator at the School of Music at East Carolina, and found where she belonged.
"The main thing that I realized is that here, people cared for people," she says. "They cared for each other. ...It was people loving people."
Now, more than 60 years after she reluctantly moved to Greenville, Bea is caring for the university and people that cared for her. Through a combination of outright contributions and a bequest provision, Bea has created the Beatrice A. Chauncey Endowed Scholars Program in ECU's School of Music.
Competing With The Elite "This is the largest endowment we've got," School of Music Director Dr. Christopher Buddo says. "It will generate significant scholarship dollars. Scholarships are the way we recruit students. Different departments use them differently. They may reward students in the junior and senior year, perhaps, but we use it to get the best students. We're fighting with some pretty high-powered schools and often scholarship dollars are what makes a difference."
Bea retired in 1990, after spending four years as the senior faculty member at the university. During her tenure at East Carolina, she played a role in the school becoming one of the premiere schools of music in the country. Through her contributions, she hopes she can continue to have an impact on the school.
"I helped the School of Music grow," she says. "I have seen it grow. I see the potential and I was part of it. I think the School of Music is one of the outstanding parts of the university."
Buddo says Bea is part of the reason the School of Music is outstanding. "Bea is one of the pioneers."
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