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The University of Maryland School of Music (UMD) is pleased to announce that alumni Eirik and Brenda Cooper have pledged a $25,000 gift to the school's Scholarships for Inclusive Excellence Fund. The gift was made during UMD’s Giving Day and is the first gift to the newly-established fund, which provides student scholarships in line with the school's commitment to pursuing the highest levels of achievement and maintaining a focus on inclusivity.    
Cooper chose this scholarship to support because it is particularly well-aligned with his ideals.  
"The goals of the Scholarship for Inclusive Excellence resonate with the things I hold near and dear—UMD, diversity and excellence," Cooper said.  "The organizations where we live, work, play and pray should be representative of the communities they serve."
He went on to add that diversity and inclusivity are "essential to achieving innovation and excellence."

Cooper was born into a family of Terps. He holds a bachelor's in music and met his wife, Brenda, who holds a bachelor's in English from UMD, while both were members of the Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band. The couple wed in the UMD Memorial Chapel and have since remained active on campus.  Eirik currently serves as chair of the School of Music (SOM) Board of Visitors and is involved with the Department of Computer Science Corporate Partners in Computing program. He is also a member of the Friends of the UMD Golf Course and the University of Maryland Band Alumni Organization.

"We are so grateful to Eirik and Brenda for this generous donation and are especially delighted that the first gift to support this scholarship fund is coming from within our own SOM family," said Jason Geary, director of the SOM.  "We hope others are inspired to help us support students and to maintain our unyielding commitment to excellence and inclusivity."

Photo: Eirik Cooper and Jason Geary, director of the University of Maryland School of Music (Photo by Geoff Sheil)