Behind the Music

27 May 2016
Chapel organ

Gillette-Pike Scholarship Fund has assisted more than 200 music students

Josh Ruebeck ’17 has a favorite quote from author Kurt Vonnegut: “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.”

For Ruebeck, a double physics and music major from Easton, Pennsylvania, that line sums up his vision of a better society. “Music has always been a way for me to be involved in the greater community outside of my main academic interests,” he says.

Ruebeck is one of seven recipients this year of the Gillette-Pike Scholarship, which assists music students. The scholarship has helped Ruebeck pursue his dual loves of music and physics “in a liberal arts environment that is supportive of varied interests like mine.”

The Gillette-Pike Scholarship Fund was established in 1962 by Allen Pike ’30 and Lillian Pike ’33 (whose daughter Barbara Pike ’66 also went on to graduate from Carleton) in memory of Carleton music professor James R. Gillette, the college organist from 1923 to 1938. With a significant bequest from Allen Pike’s estate as well as strong investment returns, the fund is valued at more than $3.5 million today and has helped more than 200 students.

The scholarship’s benefits are not limited to music majors. Another current recipient, Patty Commins ’19 (Greenbelt, Md.), takes piano and viola lessons and plays viola in Carleton’s orchestra. While she’s unlikely to major in music (she’s leaning toward the math/science disciplines), Commins still sees it playing a vital role in her Carleton experience.

“Studying music is an important part of my education here,” she says. “It challenges me and gets me thinking in different and creative ways. Being involved in Carleton’s music department has been one of my favorite parts of freshman year so far. The orchestra is fantastic, and it is great to play with such a talented and enthusiastic group.”