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Shepherd University provost passes away, leaving legacy of music and service

Apr 2, 2021


SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherd University, the Shepherdstown community and the musical world-at-large are mourning the loss of Scott Beard, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Shepherd University and a renowned musician, who passed away suddenly over the weekend. He was 56.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the sudden passing of Dr. Scott Beard, Provost/VP for Academic Affairs, and friend to all of us,” Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix wrote in a statement shared through the university’s social media. “We do not have all the details surrounding his death, but we are in close contact with Scott’s family who will share more information as soon as possible.”

Beard, known for his remarkable teaching abilities, was the West Virginia Music Teacher of the Year in 2006, and was runner up for West Virginia Professor of the Year in 2009. He was also a nationally recognized pianist, clinician, author and recording artist.

Beard’s influence can be seen in the success of his students — with prizes in the National Symphony Young Soloists, Beethoven Society, International Institute for Young Musicians, IYPAC and Ithaca international competitions, in addition to state and regional Music Teachers National Association competitions. He was also the teacher of the 2005 National MTNA Jr. High School Winner and the 2008 Senior Duet Winner.

His teaching career at Shepherd spanned more than two decades, beginning in 1998 as the coordinator of keyboard studies. Beard was interim dean of graduate studies in 2010, becoming dean in fall 2011. He assumed the position of provost in fall 2017.

“This is a shock for all of us, and I ask that we work together to carry out the duties that Scott was so diligent in performing,” Hendrix said. “It is important that we continue Scott’s legacy and plan a beautiful tribute to an extraordinarily talented professional leader.”

Throughout Monday, an outpouring of shock, love and support flooded the community as news of Beard’s passing spread.

A past Miss West Virginia winner and former state Delegate, Tiffany Lawrence recalled Beard’s support through her career endeavors.

“I’m beyond saddened to learn of the news of the passing of my dear friend Dr. Scott Beard,” Lawrence said. “Scott leaves a tremendous legacy and was the type of person who would always reach out when it was needed most. To say that he has always been a mentor is an understatement. When I competed and won the title of Miss West Virginia in 2006, he graciously volunteered to do vocal prep with me to prepare for the Miss America competition.

“When I first ran for public office in 2008, he was one of the first to offer to help,” Lawrence said. “When he learned I was obtaining a doctorate several years ago, he was one of the first people to call and offer tips! Scott was kind inside and out. He will be forever missed in our community.”

Beard’s influence went beyond the borders. A soloist, chamber musician and orchestral soloist, he traveled throughout the U.S. and to seven countries, according to Shepherd University’s website.

Borders didn’t restrict him locally, either, spreading his knowledge and love of music throughout the region.

“Scott performed many times with us at the Weinberg, Frederick Community College, and St. James the Greater Catholic Church,” a Facebook statement from the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra read. “He loved FRYO. Many times he would share his wonderful voice, and the students and I were in tears. It was never about him, it was about the students! I love you Scott and thank you for sharing your heart with us. You will be missed so much. God Bless you.”

Beard, according his Shepherd biography page, also published a number of book- and musical-material reviews and co-authored and edited six editions of ensemble music for Alfred publishing and a textbook on keyboard proficiency with Oxford University Press.

Arrangements have not been announced.

Noting that “No one can fill Scott’s shoes,” Hendrix has announced plans to appoint an Interim Chief Academic Officer Team.