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  • 100 Years Later, Student-Created Website Gives Julian His Due

    100 Years Later, Student-Created Website Gives Julian His Due

    A hundred years since he graduated from DePauw University as class valedictorian, 84 years since his alma mater denied him a tenure-track faculty position and almost 40 years since it named its science and math building after him, Percy L. Julian ’20 is being recognized at DePauw for his considerable accomplishments as a chemist.

  • Deonna Craig ’04

    Deonna Craig ’04

    A job as a production assistant on The Jerry Springer Show turned her off from her planned career in television. A career investigating insurance fraud followed.

    But Deonna Craig ’04 needed something more.

    “I was making great money superficially but inside I started not feeling great because I wasn’t doing whatever ‘it’was,” she said. “And I didn’t know what ‘it’ was at the time. I just knew that I had creativity that I needed to somehow use. I just didn’t know what. So for 15 years, I just was journeying, traveling, getting my creativity out that way. …

    “I’ve always doodled; I’ve always colored. But I never picked up a paint brush, and then my mom and I went on a trip to one of those wine-and-canvas type of places and afterward the instructor asked if I had ever studied art before. I said ‘no.’ He was like, ‘you probably should tap into that and kind of see where you go.’ And so I took a couple of classes and then it was all she wrote from there.”

  • Pamela Coburn ’74

    Pamela Coburn ’74

    She has sung across the globe, graced nearly every major opera house in the world and won acclaim from opera lovers and reviewers alike. And to think that the illustrious opera career of soprano Pamela Coburn ’74 turned on a single choice of opera over tennis.

    Coburn had come to DePauw University with a plan to major in music education “just because I like kids and I could sing,” she says. “I didn’t really know what kind of a talent I had because I didn’t do much in high school in musicals or anything.”

    During her sophomore year, her voice teacher, Edward White, asked her to sing for DePauw’s opera. She agreed to audition – though she had never seen an opera – and prepared an aria that won her the role of Suzanna, one of the leads in “The Marriage of Figaro.” But when White told her how much time rehearsals would take, Coburn balked.

    “I’m on the tennis team now,” she told him. “I don’t think I can do that.”

    White pushed; she relented. Opera it was.

  • Alicia Berneche ’93

    Alicia Berneche ’93

    When soprano Alicia Berneche ’93 added “librettist” to her long list of achievements, the accomplishment could be “be traced back to DePauw,” she said.

    “I took a lot of poetry classes with Marion McInnes in the English department when I going there and wrote a lot. She was always my mentor and always encouraged me,” Berneche said. “She saw me perform and she was, like, ‘yeah I get it; this is what you do, but you really should keep writing and always keep writing in your life. I took that to heart. I always kept writing poetry. Over time, I had amassed these poems about what it was like to be a singer on the road.”

    And when a friend, Jill Anna Ponasik, producing artistic director at Milwaukee Opera Theatre, approached her about writing an opera, Berneche showed her the poems.

  • Judson Green ’74

    Judson Green ’74

    He had loved music since he was 4, when he sat with his back to the upright piano as his sister took lessons and felt the rhythmic vibrations, and life as a professional musician beckoned.

    But when a teenage Judson Green, already an accomplished jazz pianist and French horn player, expressed his desire to major in music at DePauw University, his father suggested a career in business made more sense.

    The younger Green may not have gotten his way, but things turned out fine. His life, in fact, is peppered with similar situations. Judson Green has an uncanny knack for turning lemons into lemonade.

  • Rafael Toro-Quiñones ’96

    Rafael Toro-Quiñones ’96

    Music was a big deal in the Puerto Rican household in which Rafael Toro-Quiñones grew up. So was aviation.

    “All my brothers, all three of them, had something to do with airplanes and something to do with music,” he said. “It was kind of part of the family, honestly. The difference is, I’m the only one who took it professionally.”

    And that explains why today he is a major in the U.S. Air Force and commander/conductor of its Heritage of America Band, based in Virginia, and its Heartland of America Band, based in Nebraska. He spends off-duty hours flying little airplanes.

    But there’s more to the story.

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