Alumna Sets the Stage for the Future Through Planned Gift | WMU Alumni Skip to main content

Alumna Sets the Stage for the Future Through Planned Gift

The moment Shannon Rininger (B.S.′90, Music; M.P.A.′01) stepped into her first role in the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office, she knew she’d found her calling. “I remember my first day on the job. I walked into the building, stood on stage and knew I was home,” she said. “That was March 1996, and I’ve been here ever since.” Shannon R

Nearly 28 years later, she’s now the Assistant Director of Patron Services, and is paying her Bronco pride forward with a planned gift.

Shannon’s journey at Western began in the fall of 1985 as a music major. She applied to the University because of the music program’s regional and national recognition; plus, she had friends here who had spoken highly of their classes, professors and campus life.

“I wanted to be a high school choral director when I first enrolled,” she said. “In the end, I had created my own degree (arts administration) by majoring in music and minoring in business.”

It’s a degree that clearly led her to career fulfillment. Today, after decades of service, Shannon is giving back to her alma mater with a gift from her estate that will support both Miller Auditorium and scholarships for vocal music students at WMU.

“It’s important to give back, so that others can have the same type of experience I had,” she explained. “Even a small scholarship can make the difference to a student who’s having difficulties paying tuition.”

Her gift will be divided evenly between establishing endowments to assist with Miller Auditorium’s operations and providing student scholarships within the Irving S. Gilmore School of Music at Western Michigan University. “I have always enjoyed music and theater, and strongly believe that arts are an important part of our society,” Shannon said. “By donating to Miller Auditorium, I am helping support a thriving performing arts center and their mission to bring the arts to Kalamazoo and the southwest Michigan region.”

Through funding scholarships, she seeks to open doors for future vocal music students, just as others did for her: “Happiness, joy; the fact that students who love and have a passion for the arts will be able to learn and cultivate their talent.

“Not to mention being able to see Broadway performances, artists and groups, without having to drive to a large city,” she added. “How great is it, to live in our community and have the caliber of performances, performers and artists that we do?”

Shannon hopes her planned gift will inspire others to join her in supporting WMU’s arts legacy.

“We see the big stories that impact WMU—national recognition, national/international grants, faculty and student accolades,” she said, “but it’s important to also tell our individual stories, what WMU means to us, be it alumni or community members.”

As an alumna herself, this proud Bronco offers the following advice for current students:

“Chase your dreams. Anything is possible. It will be hard work, there will be tough times, but in the end, the achievement of your hopes, dreams and goals is worth all the trials and tribulations.  Utilize all the resources WMU has to offer, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Support the Performing Arts

Learn more about becoming a Friend of Miller or giving back to the Irving S. Gilmore School of Music.

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