GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman on Colorado’s Western Slope wanted to make a difference in the lives of a very specific group of young musicians. In 2018, Dr. Ruth Maurer gifted Colorado Mesa University a significant endowment for the purposes of enhancing the flute in rural communities.

Dr. Ruth Maurer (credit: CBS)

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Her act of kindness is already impacting young lives in rural western Colorado.

“I thought about this for a while. I decided I would like to give some money to CMU because they’ve been really nice to me at the music department. They make it feel like home,” she said.

Maurer is a Renaissance woman who is not only a mathematician with a Ph.D but also an artist and philanthropist who pioneered a pathway for young women.

“It’s just amazing. It’s amazing, because it just comes from nowhere. Very generous woman who loves what she does, very talented. When people want to give back like that it warms the heart,” CMU President Tim Foster said.

CBS4’s Matt Kroschel interviews Maurer. (credit: CBS)

Using the newly established Ruth Maurer Flute Endowment, the music department will host an annual Flute Fest West, including a Western region flute competition for small, rural high school students.

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“You want to put your money where you can do the most good on something that you really like. I really like the flute. I think by endowing this flute program in helping it grow, more people will learn to love the flute,” Maurer said.

The hope is this endowment will help draw more musicians into the growing CMU program by creating scholarships.

CMU serves a 14 county region in western Colorado that is primarily made up of rural communities.

(credit: CBS)

The student body at CMU is comprised of a significant amount of students who are economically challenged, first-generation college students and many students who come from socio-economic challenges. In Mesa County alone, the most populous county of CMU’s 14 county service region, only 25 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the university.

The goal is to find the best way to promote the flute in communities that are different than urban centers but face similar challenges culturally and economically.

“There’s talent in all these places. You’ve got to feed that talent. When you feed that talent, when they (say) ‘I would like to major in music.’ ‘I would like to be a flute player.’ ‘Mom and dad, say what, can I get a scholarship?’ it makes it OK,” Foster added.

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It’s music in action. And it’s nspiring the next generation of musicians.