This scholarship fund was established in February 2020 in honor of Patricia Gracey by her husband, Robert Gracey. Patricia Gracey graduated from West Liberty in 1963 with a degree in Music Education. As a child of a coal miner, Pat grew up in the coal camp of Windsor Heights, WV. She showed a propensity for scholarship and musical talent early on. She participated in a variety of musical endeavors throughout her high school career including piano, singing, and her time as a member of the school band.
At West Liberty University, Pat majored in music with an emphasis in choral conducting. Her minor was in history. She took private piano lessons and was a member of the Music Educators’ National Conference, where she was recognized as the West Liberty Outstanding Music Student. She was also selected by the West Liberty faculty as the outstanding senior student, class of 1963. After she graduated from WLU, she went on to earn a master’s degree in Religious Education from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where she also met her husband. They later had two children.
In her professional career, Pat served as Director of Christian Education in the Manchester Presbyterian Church and Director of Choral Music in the Clay County, KY, High School, where she established a music elementary education program for Clay County. She later returned with her family to Western, PA, where she served as a Music Instructor and Choral Director at Ford City High School. Her musical career was unfortunately cut short when she developed a cancerous tumor on her thyroid gland. Removal of the tumor led to the accidental severing of a vocal chord, damaging her singing capability.
After her musical career ended, Pat became the Program Director of the Armstrong County Head Start Program for 14 years. She was then selected to serve as the President of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association and was an officer in the federal Region III Head Start Association. When her husband chose to move back to Wheeling, WV for employment, Pat applied for and was selected as the Executive Director of the Northern Panhandle Head Start Program, where for 21 years, she oversaw significant expansion of services and the establishment of the Early Head Start Program. She was again recognized for her leadership skills and elected as the President of the West Virginia Head Start Association. Through this role, she worked to establish the West Virginia school system’s preschool program.
Through Pat’s entire career, she recognized the importance of “music as a teacher” especially in early childhood development. This guided her to undertake initiatives in her own career that provided children opportunities to learn through music and also has guided her to direct this scholarship to financially assist WLU students majoring in music education.
The Graceys have remained connected to WLU over the years through their involvement with the Leah Gracey Campbell Math Education Scholarship, which was established by Leah Gracey Campbell, aunt of Robert Gracey, through a bequest gift.
USES AND PURPOSES
The Patricia Zapka Gracey Scholarship has been created to financially aid students pursuing a Music Education Degree. The amount and number of scholarships awarded will be based on the spendable income available in the fund.
Minimum Requirements for Consideration
- Incoming freshman majoring in Music Education with piano emphasis
- Preference for student with financial need according to financial aid application process
The recipient can maintain the scholarship by continuing to meet the GPA requirement of 3.0 and remaining in the Music Education Program.
The Dean of the College of Education and Human Performance with input from Education and Music faculty members will lead the selection process for this award.