Iowa STATEment Maker: LAS alumna Cathy Compton ’08

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Cathy (’08 music education) was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011 while she was earning her master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Colorado. The scholarship allowed her to spend the 2011-2012 academic year in Leipzig, Germany, as an active performer and researcher on the project “In Her Own Right: The Music of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel.” She performed throughout Germany, including at the Mendelssohn House Museum. Despite her many professional successes and her demanding travel schedule, Cathy never forgot the connections she made at Iowa State.


When former classmate Joey Wilgenbusch ’05 passed away unexpectedly, Cathy helped coordinate an endowed scholarship in her best friend’s name. From thousands of miles away, she worked tirelessly in Wilgenbusch’s memory. Her efforts culminated in a Joey Wilgenbusch Memorial Gala event that was held July 29, 2012 in the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall. A concert will be held annually to continue supporting the scholarship. 

Today Cathy works as the director of a non-profit fine arts school in Boulder and continues to reprise her Fulbright grant work – even performing at the German-American Embassy in Washington, D.C., and as a guest artist in the Salisbury House Chamber Series in Des Moines.

Cathy on…

…her favorite ISU tradition: “Madrigal Dinner”

…her favorite spot on campus: “On stage at Stephens Auditorium – an incredibly beautiful place to perform. But I also have to give a shout out to the dessert case in the Union Drive Community Center.”

… her favorite app: “Whatsapp”

…her favorite quote: “’To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.’ – Leonard Bernstein”

This story was originally posted by the Iowa State University Alumni Association. Iowa STATEment Makers is a recognition program of the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, honoring graduates of the past 10 years who have made strong statements in careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, academics, community service, or personal achievements. Visit the Alumni Association for all of 2014's Iowa STATEment Makers.

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