Today@Sam Article

Nurturing Creative Passions Through Scholarships

July 28, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Jackie Swan

Bill Bartlett 1As artistic degrees grow in popularity, SHSU alumnus William A. ‘Bill’ Bartlett hopes to continue this trend by providing funds for art and vocal music scholarships.

Although he was not a music major, Bartlett found a passion for singing at an early age, which he pursued during his time at SHSU and beyond. He participated in the Singing Men’s Chorus for one year and the A Capella Choir for three years under the direction of Charles Lindsay, who taught him privately for his last two years as a student. Additionally, Bartlett performed in the Huntsville community with the First Baptist Church choir.

Bartlett graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1955 and pursued a career in accounting while continuing to sing. He was a member of the Army Engineer Chorus during his two years of military service. In 1959, he auditioned and was accepted into the Houston Grand Opera, where, as a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, he performed in more than one hundred productions over the span of 29 years.

Now, Bartlett hopes to keep this creative spirit alive within higher education.

Woodshop08“I hope to make it easier for people to pursue art and music,” Bartlett said. “A lot of people may hesitate to go into that area of study unless you’re going into teaching, but this  scholarship might encourage more people to pursue a performing arts area.”

Two generous endowment funds will be distributed via scholarships, one in his name for the School of Music and one in his sister’s name, Mary Lee Bartlett, for the Department of Art.  

Mary graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and minor in Art. She taught for 30 years in the Houston area before retiring in 1984. She is passionate about woodworking, participating in various sculpting classes and having her work displayed across the nation. The Mary Lee Bartlett Wood Shop classroom in the new SHSU Art Complex is named in her honor.

ScultureGarden1Since his retirement from accounting in 1987, Bill Bartlett has been an active member of the Houston community and is well known for his large patio garden, recognized as the ‘orchid gallery’ by the American Orchid Society. Recently, his efforts were included in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. As treasurer of The Friends of Archaeology, he has traveled all over the world observing orchids and visiting dig sites. He also served as treasurer for Peckerwood Garden Conservation and the Houston Orchid Society.

“I feel it’s important for people to give back to their community as much as they can,” Bartlett said. “I have very fond memories of my years at Sam Houston and I hope to provide the opportunity for others to have a great experience as well.”

The William A. Bartlett Sculpture Garden in front of the SHSU Art Complex is named in his honor. On behalf of future recipients of these scholarships, the College of Arts and Media extends gratitude to Bill and Mary Bartlett for these outstanding contributions.

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