Campaign Dollars Grow Scholars
Leigh Wing began playing violin at age six, her mother driving her an hour each way from their Idaho potato farm to study at the nearest university.
She earned a degree at Brigham Young University, majoring in the humanities with an emphasis in Spanish and a minor in music. She was on her way to seek a second degree in music, but the birth of her first child put further education plans on hold.
Seventeen years and four children later, the family is back in her husband Carlton's hometown, and she is back in college pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree in music at UALR. In between classes, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, and raising a family, Wing plays violin with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
"I came to UALR under the recommendation of Andrew Irving, co-concertmaster for the ASO," Wing said. "He had been working with me on my talent and recommended I finish my education at UALR and study under Meredith Maddox Hicks. I was familiar with Miss Maddox Hicks' talent and felt that she could help me grow in my ability and musicianship."
Wing is on track to receive a post-baccalaureate degree in music in 2013 and has plans to seek a master of music degree. She is accomplishing her long-delayed educational goals with the help of an Eleanor Orts Francis Scholarship established by the estate of the late UALR professor.
Francis, who died in 2009 at the age of 96, taught English at UALR for 33 years and was an accomplished violinist, often playing with UALR's Community Orchestra. Her life's work and passions live on in the trust she established endowing scholarships in English and music.
Awarded to a full-time or part-time student who is seeking a degree in music, the Eleanor Orts Francis Scholarship is a renewable award that takes into account academic accomplishment and financial need, with academic accomplishment being the determining factor.
"I am so grateful for the educational opportunity UALR has afforded me. Not only am I growing as an artist, I am connecting with a community of artists in central Arkansas," she said. "I am so impressed by the quality of the teaching that has helped me to grow as a musician and with the partnerships UALR has forged with the professional music world that have provided me with opportunities to grow as a performer.
"UALR has been a gateway to more opportunities for me here in Little Rock."