Like most renowned musicians, UCF’s Ayako Yonetani has been defined by her artistry. However, it is her gift for teaching that led a local benefactor to establish a scholarship in her name.

Judy Duda, chair of the Dean’s Executive Council for UCF’s College of Arts and Humanities and (CAH) a local arts patron, endowed the fund as a way to encourage others to support UCF’s music program.

“My intent was to support the University’s comprehensive campaign, but I am also passionate about music and attracting talented young musicians. This was a way to serve both needs,” Duda said.

Duda met Yonetani 20 years ago. Yonetani had come to UCF from the Julliard School of Music and Duda was coordinator for the Concert Series at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Slavia.

UCF did not have a concert hall and St. Luke’s, less than 10 miles away, offered an acoustically appropriate setting for UCF Orchestra performances. Yonetani and her students participated in these performances and Duda grew to admire the violinist’s dedication to her protégés.

“I thought UCF had a treasure in Ayako and I wanted to do what I could to help her build the string section,” Duda said.

Duda, who over the years developed a personal friendship with Yonetani, decided to do something to help.

She contacted the UCF Foundation and the Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities and contributed the funds necessary to establish the Ayako Yonetani Music Endowed Scholarship for violin and viola students.

Yonetani learned of the scholarship following her performance for Music Department presentation at a CAH Dean’s Executive Council meeting. As she was packing her violin after the performance, Dean José Fernández made the surprise announcement.

Yonetani said although the endowment was unexpected she is excited about the prospect of attracting more donors to help bring more of the most talented students to UCF.

To contribute or for more information contact Laura Pooser at – 407-823-1195.