After 21 years at Lander University, Dr. Paul Criswell has retired as Lander's choral director. A scholarship has been established in honor of his service and commitment to Lander's choral program.
Under Dr. Paul Criswell's direction Lander University choral students have performed throughout South Carolina and beyond, including Wesley Commons in Greenwood and the Biltmore House in North Carolina. He also helped music students charter a Lander chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, and he has shared the Lander stage with choral directors and students from high schools across the state, including Greenwood High School, Dorman High School and Strom Thurmond High School.
Over his 21-year tenure at Lander, Criswell and his choral students have raised money while performing across South Carolina and across state borders. To honor Criswell's legacy as he retires from the university, what remains of those funds is being used as seed money for the Dr. Paul Criswell Scholarship.
The scholarship will aid an incoming male freshman or transfer student majoring in music education with an emphasis in voice who shows outstanding possibilities of talent in the area of voice. However, before the scholarship can be awarded, Criswell said more money needs to be raised to ensure that the fund can benefit students for many years to come.
"I've made a lot of friends over 21 years - people in the community who I may only see a few times a year, but who are still avid supporters of what I've been doing with Lander's choral program," said Criswell. "We want to try and get as many of my friends as possible to give to the scholarship. If we can get it to the endowed level that would be great"
Adam Taylor, Lander's vice president for University Advancement, said "an endowed scholarship like the one honoring Criswell continues to benefit students indefinitely. Community and alumni support will ensure that the scholarship will help make a college education affordable for future performers."
Criswell explained that between his final University Singers concert and a Wind Ensemble concert that was dedicated in his honor, he has been humbled by the good wishes of current and former students, staff and colleagues.
"As a teacher, I think you go through your career trying to do the best that you can and you don't get a lot of feedback. As teachers we give feedback to students but seldom do we get positive reinforcement ourselves. But having a concert dedicated to me and having students talk about what I've meant to them has been overwhelming and reassuring."
Alumni, current students and community members can continue expressing their appreciation for Criswell, lovingly known as "Doc" to his students, by contributing to the Dr. Paul Criswell Scholarship.
Making a donation to the Criswell Scholarship is easy. Donors can send a check, pay online or have donations drafted automatically from a credit card or checking account. All contributions are tax deductible. For details about giving, contact The Lander Foundation at 864-388-8350.