When Sean Brogan learned that he had won the Bill and Avis Mitchell Scholarship in Music, he was pleased, surprised and grateful for the help, which he says will prove significant.
Brogan believes scholarships can make a difference in students' choices. He says that knowing music scholarships are out there will encourage potential students to study music.
The UM senior is pursuing a double major in accounting and piano. He intends to work as an accountant by day and play music in his free time.
The Bill and Avis Mitchell Scholarship in Music is an endowed scholarship, with music majors from eastern Montana being preferred candidates. The Mitchells created the scholarship after hosting two touring music students. When the Mitchells discovered that neither was receiving scholarship support, they concluded that a music scholarship would be highly valuable.
Bill Mitchell, a 1950 business alumnus living in Miles City, says that he is "very happy to have the scholarship and very pleased with the caliber of students" receiving the award. He encourages alumni in a position to give to do so, observing that being able to offset the rising cost of college education for deserving students is highly rewarding.
The Mitchells funded the Bill and Avis Mitchell Business Scholarship and the Avis Mitchell Scholarship in Visual Arts in addition to the music scholarship Brogan received. Avis Mitchell, Bill Mitchell's wife and a supporter of the arts in Miles City as well as at UM, passed away in 2006.
Brogan is a great fit for the music award. Born in Billings, he became interested in music early. "I've been singing since I could read," he says.
He began studying piano in fifth grade, and the praise he received kept him going. Now, he picks up work accompanying others at the School of Music.
The seeds of his other major were planted in childhood as well. His mother is an accountant. This summer, he interned in her office.
Brogan's interests stretch beyond academics. He has been working with friends since his sophomore year of high school to put out episodes of "Welcome to Sumwhere," an online animated comedy series. He is the lead writer for the group, but he also acts and provides music.
Brogan is uncertain where he'll wind up geographically - he may return to Billings or move to Seattle - but wherever he lands, human connections are what matter most to him. In his words, "If you write something and have no one to share it with, what's the point?"