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      WTAMU College of Fine Arts receives generous gift

      A gift totaling more than one million dollars will benefit current and future students of West Texas A&M's Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

      Every year the WT School of Music gives the gift of music to the community and a thank you to everyone who has invested time or money in their program.

      This year's music showcase was in memory of one woman who gave everything she had.

      "This afternoon we were at the Amarillo country club for the auction of jewelry of purses and shoes from the estate of Lily Jack Mercer," said Robert Hansen WT School of Music Director. "Mrs. Mercer passed away a few months ago, and we were wonderfully surprised to learn she left her estate to scholarships."

      Her estate alone generated more than one million dollars to go directly to the WT fine arts scholarship fund.

      "We were so surprised. We knew that she had been a supporter and had spoken with us about establishing some scholarships, but we didn't have a clue of the size of the estate or that all of it was to come to us for our scholarships," said Hansen.

      Three students at Friday's event were named as the first recipients of the mercer scholarship.

      "I was like what's going on? I didn't know the amount or anything and I didn't know it was real and I was told by Dr. Krause, the oboe professor, that I'd received a scholarship of one of three who has been chosen," said Maggie Moore Scholarship Recipient. "It was exciting, I was shocked."

      Officials say its people like Lily jack Mercer and students like Maggie that keep their program thriving.

      "It's wonderful to see a music school that is growing," said Lyndi Williams WT Music Recruiter. "You hear a lot of stories about the arts in other parts of the world; here in the Texas panhandle it's alive and well."

      "It takes incredible people to help students follow their educational dreams, and I just want to thank them so much more for that," said Moore.