Alumnus Returns to Honor Deceased Friend and Professor with Concert


Scott Piper, center, takes a bow after the Jim Thomas Memorial Concert in March. Piper was joined on stage by Nancy Hueber, left, who provided piano accompaniment. Joe Benevento, right, compiled and edited Thomas’ work into the acclaimed collection, “Brief Tracks.”

Dr. Scott Piper, an alumnus and renowned tenor, returned to Truman, March 29, to posthumously honor a former professor whom he greatly admired.

Years ago on the Truman campus, a special friendship developed between English professor and poet Jim Thomas and a young Piper, who is the son of emeriti faculty members Fontaine Piper and Vera Piper. Although Piper would go on to carve out a distinguished career in music, he always delighted in Thomas and his craft.

Thomas was a faculty member at the University for 30 years and retired in 1994. He passed away in 2009. A scholarship in his honor is available through the Truman State University Foundation.

Piper, now an assistant professor of music at the University of Michigan, commemorated his friendship with a special concert to benefit the Jim Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund. The concert featured newly commissioned musical settings of Thomas’ poems from the acclaimed collection “Brief Tracks,” compiled and edited by Truman English professor Joe Benevento.

For more information about the Jim Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund, contact the Office of Advancement at (660) 785-4133.

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