The Dr. Charles H. Schisler Endowed Scholarship to Honor Former Dean

Project initiated by the Class of 1971 will provide a lasting legacy.
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Inspired by the man who made a lasting difference in their lives and the life of their alma mater, the Westminster Choir College Class of 1971 is leading an initiative to establish the Dr. Charles H. Schisler Endowed Scholarship in memory of the former dean, who passed away on June 22.  Earnings from the endowed fund will provide financial aid to deserving students at Westminster, which Dr. Schisler served for 21 years as a member of the faculty and Dean.

“The effort to raise funds for a scholarship in Charles' honor was a way for my class to celebrate its 40th reunion and to show our appreciation for a man who affected us so greatly.  We soon realized that Charles' influence reached far beyond the Class of '71. We’re encouraged by the tremendous response this initiative has received from the Westminster community,” says Sharon Dundore Daikeler ’71, who is a member of the Class of 1971 Committee.  “We’ve shared this news with Charles, and he’s been deeply touched by the generosity of the contributors and the knowledge that a scholarship bearing his name will help enable a student to attend Westminster Choir College.”

All Westminster alumni and friends are invited to invest in this project that will provide a lasting legacy honoring a remarkable man.  To make a contribution to the Dr. Charles H. Schisler Endowed Scholarship:
1. Follow this link
2. Send a check (payable to Westminster Choir College of Rider University) to
    Steve Spinner
    Westminster Choir College
    101 Walnut Lane, Princeton, NJ  08540
    Note Dr. Charles H. Schisler Scholarship Endowment on the check.
3. Call 609-921-7100 ext. 8213.

About Charles H. Schisler
Dr. Charles H. Schisler’s many contributions to Westminster Choir College were recently recognized when he was presented with the Williamson Medal, the Westminster Alumni Association’s highest honor.  The citation included below was read at the Alumni Luncheon at the 2011 Westminster Alumni Reunion in May.

The Williamson Medal - Charles H. Schisler
An institution’s life is the sum of the efforts and contributions of many.  The success that Westminster Choir College enjoys today is based in many ways on the foundation laid by a man recognized for his unrelenting pursuit of excellence in all areas of the College’s academic and musical life – Charles Schisler.

Charles joined the Westminster Choir College faculty in 1969 after distinguishing himself as a church musician at Swarthmore Methodist Church, as a public school teacher in the Philadelphia suburbs and as a music education professor at Peabody Conservatory.  In 1970 he initiated Westminster’s Summer Session, which became a model for similar programs around the country.   In 1972, working with Joseph Flummerfelt, he welcomed Robert Shaw to campus for the first of 15 Summer Choral Festivals that are legendary among choral musicians.  He also revitalized the Music Education department, which has grown to be one of the nation’s most highly regarded programs of its kind.

Appointed Dean in 1975, he helped to shape the curriculum and built a faculty recognized as one of the strongest in the country.  He guided that faculty and challenged them to never settle for less than the best.  A master teacher himself, Charles brought to his own classroom the same high standards he expected of others.  Ask any alumnus who had a Schisler course, and you’ll be told – it was one of the toughest and one of the best.

His doctoral dissertation, "A History of Westminster Choir College 1926-73," is a valuable resource for choral scholars and others interested in Westminster’s rich history.

Westminster Choir College honored Charles Schisler in 1988 by awarding him an honorary doctorate as he departed to join the faculty at Emory University.  That citation noted, “We have all been stretched a little further because of (your) presence…Westminster Choir College is a far stronger institution because you were here.”

The Alumni Association of Westminster Choir College of Rider University is pleased to also honor Charles Schisler by presenting him with the Williamson Medal in recognition of his many contributions to the life of the Choir College and to its success.

Colleagues and Students Honor Charles H. Schisler
With their gifts, many of the people touched by Charles Schisler have included messages about his work.  Here are a few examples.

Charles has been such an inspiration to so many students at the Choir College, including me! My career is unthinkable without considering how much he influenced my views about music, the arts, education and teaching, and about myself. SUCH a role model!! From the moment I met him, I knew I liked the guy and that he was someone who challenged me to be the very best I could be. How lucky for so many of us to have been touched by his extraordinary teaching skills! Talk about the power of teaching! Wow! Thank you, thank you, Charles.
-- Steven Kreinberg ’76

 A tremendous influence on my life.
-- Emily Magee ’87

Charles Schisler's leadership as Dean at Westminster was so extraordinary.  He was a master teacher and in seeking excellence in the teaching of the faculty he created an outstanding atmosphere of teaching and learning.  It was my privilege to work with Charles as Organ Department Head for many years and to know him as friend and fellow Bach enthusiast!
--Joan Hult Lippincott ’57, MM’61

Dean Charles Schisler has given so many of us a vision of what an education at Westminster Choir College can mean in our world.  He has followed our work with deep interest, rejoicing in our successes and urging us to even higher goals.  Charles Schisler's life and legacy exemplify the truest search for excellence.  His mentorship will continue through those who receive this scholarship in years to come.
-- Brenda Smith  MM’80

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Dr. Charles H. Schisler with a favorite sculpture.