A Lifelong Love of Music Leads to Piano Scholarship

Born in Nagpur, India, Dr. Saroj Sutaria began a love affair with music as a teenager after her older brother brought home a whole set of classical music recordings and books he had purchased.

“I was hooked,” she says. “We spent hours listening to those records over and over. I was especially drawn to piano music. I just loved the sound of it.”

After obtaining her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Special Education in India, Saroj decided to travel to the United States for her doctorate. When she accepted a position in special education at Kent State University in 1967, she thought that it would only be for a few years. When two years turned into 25, she knew she was meant to build her career and her life here. Saroj retired from the university in 1992.

“After I retired and became more involved in the Kent community, I discovered the recitals and orchestra concerts that were put on at the School of Music. In the last 10 or 12 years, I’ve never missed a single one when I’m in town.”

Saroj became a major participant and supporter of the school, establishing the Dr. Saroj Sutaria Scholarship in Music, which benefits piano students. She also participated in the 2018 “Conduct the Orchestra Auction,” that benefitted student scholarships, and had the winning bid. This past April, Saroj led the Kent State Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s Overture to “Marriage of Figaro” and Strauss’s “Radetzky March” as her prize.

“Conducting the march was great,” says Saroj, “I had everyone clapping along at the end.”

According to Mindy Aleman, assistant vice president of the Center for Gift and Estate Planning, “Saroj is one of the truly remarkable supporters of Kent State. She not only created a scholarship via her estate plan but has made outright gifts to it as well. This has allowed her to enjoy special relationships with the student recipients of her gift during her lifetime.”

Dr. Sutaria understands the needs of today’s university students.

“I know of several students in the School of Music who really need financial help,” she says. “Without it they wouldn’t be able to pursue their goals. I feel that if I can help at least one student succeed in their career, I need to do that. Since I have the financial resources to be able to do it, then why not? This is something I believe in and I know I can help someone achieve their dreams.”

If you’d like to learn how to support a scholarship at Kent State with a provision in your will, contact the Center for Gift and Estate Planning at 330-672-1000, or email us at giftplan@kent.edu.

POSTED: Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 1:55pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 29, 2020 - 10:28am