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The Miranda Scholarship

photograph of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda 
 

Rhode Island College is proud to announce the establishment of a new scholarship being made available here at Rhode Island College by a prominent national arts figure. This first-in-the-nation scholarship is being established to support first-generation, underserved students in realizing their dreams of earning a bachelor’s degree in the performing arts. Rising juniors or seniors will have the opportunity to earn a two-year scholarship made possible by the Miranda Family in the honor of Lin-Manuel and his work. Lin-​Manuel is an award-winning composer, lyricist and performer. His most notable works include the Broadway musicals "Hamilton" and "In the Heights."

Scholarship Criteria

  • A member of an underrepresented group, as defined by U.S. government census data.
  • First-generation college student.
  • Major in Music, Theatre or Dance.
  • Be a full-time enrolled junior or senior.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Submit a letter of interest addressing:
    • Why are you the ideal candidate for a prominent scholarship?
    • What are your aspirations for a post-college career?
  • Participate in a live audition and interview.
  • Eligible for Federal Pell Grant.
photograph of the Miranda family

Miranda family

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Visit his personal website to learn more about Lin-Manuel Miranda or follow him on Twitter.


Scholarship Recipients

photograph of Claudius Cooper

CLAUDIUS COOPER​

Senior, Music Major

Where I’m from: "I am a native of Liberia. I was born 1996 in the heat of the civil war, which unfortunately claimed the life of one of my brothers. Growing up as one of ten siblings in Liberia was certainly a struggle, but I could always count on the support of my two wonderful parents. My parents are both pastors; they taught us to always trust God and to be content with having little. In 2002 I was afforded the opportunity to come to the United States. I began playing music in church at age nine. My parents saw my love for music and invested in it by sending me to school."

What this scholarship means to me: "There are many other children like me who do not have the resources to further their education in music. I want help provide an avenue that will encourage them to continue and further boost their ambitions for music. Pursuing this career won’t be easy, but the financial support provided by the Miranda Scholarship is huge. Have access to an opportunity like this lets me know that Rhode Island College is doing everything possible to help me succeed."

photograph of Alexander Crespo-Rosario

ALEXANDER CRESPO-ROSARIO

Junior, Musical Theatre and Dance Performance Major

What performing has taught me: "I was born in Puerto Rico, so naturally I grew up around performance. Whether it was church skits, street shows or the circus, it was in my life. However, it was not until I got older that I realized that performing meant much more to me. I felt like I had a voice, like I could make a change. I learned more about the world and about who I really was. I felt free."

What this scholarship means to me: "The amazing opportunities that have been given to me at Rhode Island College have undoubtedly changed my life, and this is the biggest one yet. Lin-Manuel Miranda is such an inspiration to me, both as a student in musical theatre and as someone from Puerto Rico trying to succeed in a field where we are traditionally underrepresented. To know that someone at his level recognizes my talent and would use his success to support it makes me believe that I really can achieve my dreams."

photograph of Brandon McCrory-Joseph

BRANDON MCCRORY-JOSEPH

Junior, Dance Performance Major

Why I do what I do: "I dance because it feels good. I dance as a way to express myself. I dance because it was an escape from my environment as a child. I believe people from underserved communities are creative thinkers, that we have brilliant ideas, that we are intelligent and that we can persevere. I want to choreograph to show that people like me are worthy. It is possible to use the arts as a ticket out and as a way to elevate yourself to ​where you want to be."

What this scholarship means to me: "Rhode Island College’s dance program has truly shaped me into the dancer I want to be. Being a part of the RIC Dance Company helped me realize more than ever that I can actually follow my passion and make a career out of it. It has been a challenging journey, but this opportunity keeps me on the path to success. When I graduate I will use my education to give back to underserved communities through dance."

photograph of Orlando Montalvo

ORLANDO MONTALVO

Junior, Music Performance Major

How I found my voice: "I was nine years old when my mother and I came to America from Puerto Rico. I was put in the English as a Second Language classroom, which did not allow me to partake in electives such as music or art. I was fortunate enough to catch onto English rather quickly, and only had to stay in the program for two years. By ninth grade, I was finally able to immerse myself in music. From that point on, I knew that music was not something I could do, it was something I had to do. Since then, I have sought opportunities to improve my skills both in and out of Rhode Island College. I recently had the opportunity to attend a summer opera program, the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Angers, France. This experience confirmed that my dreams of becoming an international opera singer are possible."

What this scholarship means to me: "I did not have the opportunity to explore my musical abilities until high school, but some students go through their entire lives without that opportunity. They may never discover their hidden talents. I have had the great pleasure to venture over to Mount Pleasant High School where I have seen students who are introduced to music for the first time. I have served as a mentor and an inspiration to those students. It is quite magical to see them blossom. I would love to continue that work as a music advocate for those who have a harder time having access to it. This scholarship will help me do what fulfills my soul."

photograph of Andrea Varas

ANDREA VARG​AS

Senior, Theatre Major

What it took for me to get here: "I am a first-generation college student and a first-generation American. Both my parents were born on the island of Faial in the Azorean Islands of Portugal. Growing up, there were no theatres or school theatre programs for me to participate in. The nearest children’s theatre was forty minutes from my house. I have always known that I wanted to be an actor in musical theatre and begged my mom to let me begin voice lessons in middle school, but we just could not afford it. Money has always been a struggle for my family. I got my first job as soon when I was fifteen. I have always worked as much as possible while studying so I can pay for my necessities and school. I wouldn’t be here studying at RIC if I didn’t work for the funds to support myself. I am currently working three jobs, the first at Newport Creamery, the second on campus as an office assistant, and lastly, my newest venture as the musical director for a community theatre production in East Providence."

What this scholarship means to me: "I chose Rhode Island College because it’s the best opportunity to get a quality education at a price I can afford, and this scholarship really proves to me that I made the right decision. Knowing that such a huge star believes this is a special place feels like recognition of both my own talent and the quality of my teachers. After graduation I want to create similar opportunities for students in my hometown, East Providence. I want to develop a stronger theatre presence in the school system that will provide access to voice, acting, dancing and song/playwriting classes at a reduced rate or even for free. It has been a recent realization that this is something I could provide for the community and it’s important for me to use my knowledge and drive to set up a program for aspiring artists who could be the next Broadway stars and leaders of the next generation – just like Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing for us."


The Performing and Visual Arts at Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College is a regional leader in preparing students for careers in the performing and visual arts. Students at Rhode Island College have the opportunity to learn from faculty who have mastered their skills in music, theatre, dance and the visual arts.

Students have access to a number of venues that support and advance their work.

The Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, is home to the College’s music, theatre and dance education programs and serves as a primary regional venue for professional performing artists and a wide range of community activities.

Performance Facilities include the following:

  • Sapinsley Hall Theatre (422 seats)
  • Roberts Hall Auditorium (943 seats)
  • Forman Black Box Theatre
  • Fannie Helen Melcer Dance Studio, and
  • The Little Theatre

Distinguished Alumni

For its size, Rhode Island College boasts a large number of distinguished alumni who have made an impact on the regional and national stage, including:

Viola Davis, Actress
Rhode Island College, Class of 1988
Viola Davis was the first African-American actor to earn the “Triple Crown,” having won an Oscar, Emmy, and two Tony awards in the acting category. She is the first African-American to win five Screen Actors Guild awards.

Howard Fine, Acting Coach, Author and Theater Director
Rhode Island, Class of 1981
Founder of the Howard Fine Acting Studio (Hollywood, CA and Melbourne, Australia), Fine has worked with countless actors, including Rosanna Arquette, Simon Baker, Michael Chiklis, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Kim Delaney, Mark Harmon, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Brooke Shields, Will Smith, Sela Ward, and Michelle Williams.

Ron McLarty, Author, Actor and Voice Acting
Rhode Island College, Class of 1969
McLarty portrayed a Boston police officer in the television series Spenser for Hire, but after being discovered by author Stephen King, it has been McLarty’s work as an accomplished narrator that has brought him widespread acclaim.

Danny Smith, Producer, Writer and Voice Actor
Rhode Island College, Class of 1981
Best-known for being the writer, producer and voice actor in the animated television series, Family Guy, which is set in his native Rhode Island.

On the local level, Rhode Island College alumni and ardent supporters can be found leading the Providence Performing Arts Center, Pawtucket Arts Festival, the Waterfire Arts Center, and more!


More Information

For more information about the scholarship, please contact the RIC Foundation at 401-456-8460 or foundation@ric.edu.​​​​​​

Page last updated: December 19, 2018