Betty Cooper Hearnes Music Scholarship Established at Southeast

Hearnes Scholarship

From left are Jay Wolz, director of Alumni Relations at Southeast; Trudy Lee, director of planned giving with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation; Betty Cooper Hearnes for whom the Betty Cooper Hearnes Music Scholarship has been named; and Dr. Kevin Hampton, chair of the Southeast Department of Music.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, March 23, 2015 – The Betty Cooper Hearnes Music Scholarship has been established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

The scholarship has been established through a generous gift from the Cooper family in Betty Cooper Hearnes’ honor.

The scholarship was announced March 13 at the birthday celebration of Julia Warren, sister of Hearnes, and was presented by Dr. Kevin Hampton, chair of the Southeast Department of Music, and Trudy Lee, director of planned giving with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

The scholarship is the first established with the express purpose of encouraging young men and women interested in following in Hearnes’ footsteps as a church musician. The renewable scholarship is established in recognition and gratitude of Hearnes’ many musical accomplishments.  Students pursuing a music degree at Southeast Missouri State who express an interest in church music will be eligible for this scholarship and preference will be given to students from the southeast Missouri region. Applicants must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average and participate in the Department of Music’s annual auditions. Financial need will be considered but is not required. The Department of Music Scholarship Committee will select the recipient.

“My first visit with Betty was when I came to Charleston to be a member of her choir and soloist in the Christmas cantata around 12 years ago,” said Trudy Lee, director of planned giving with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “I’ve enjoyed singing under her direction on several occasions at her church in Charleston.”

Lee said Southeast often honors the legacy and impact of an individual through the creation of an endowed scholarship, adding that several members of the Cooper family have been honored in this way.

  • The Rev. A.B. Cooper Scholarship provides assistance to ministerial students.
  • The Dr. Jennie Cooper Scholarship assists students majoring in liberal arts who wish to study abroad.
  • The Dr. Jim Cooper Scholarship helps support pre-med students.
  • Two Jane Cooper Stacy scholarships provide support to Southeast students – one for international students and other for non-traditional students.

“These scholarships have supported countless students over the years – and we are pleased today to add more more to the list,” Lee said. “Many students will benefit for years to come from this permanent endowment.”

Betty Cooper Hearnes of Charleston, Missouri, was a vocal student of Miss Katherine Boone in Charleston. Betty then attended several colleges — – Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau; Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas; Baylor University in Waco, Texas; and the University of Missouri in Columbia — where she studied and enjoyed furthering her education in music She was a soloist at First Baptist in Jefferson City, Missouri, during the years her husband, Warren Hearnes, served as Secretary of State and Governor. Hearnes also sang for many special occasions, including the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. She has directed the choir at First Baptist Church in Charleston, Missouri, for more than 40 years.