Sarah Titus (IAA 80-82, IAC St 81-82) first stepped onto the Interlochen campus in the fall of 1980, excited to begin her junior year at Interlochen Arts Academy. She quickly realized she had become a part of something special: a loving, supportive environment, full of the arts.
“I felt very loved there, and it wasn’t just one teacher—it was everyone,” Sarah recalls of her time at the Academy. “They cared about how I was doing. From (former Interlochen president) Mr. Jacobi and his wife to the lady in the cafeteria, I was met with open arms.”
A violinist from Dallas, Texas, Sarah found out about Interlochen when her violin teacher, running late for a lesson, gave her a copy of the Interlochen catalogue to pass the time. It landed in her lap at just the right moment. She had been unhappy in her public school, and her parents had already enrolled her in a boarding school closer to home. “I was already being measured for the plaid skirt,” Sarah says, “but when I opened the catalogue and saw the knickers, I went home and said, ‘I’m going to Interlochen.’” It was a perfect fit.
Sarah knows that Interlochen continues to be a perfect fit for young artists today, many of whom wouldn’t be able to attend Interlochen without scholarship support. To make the Interlochen Arts Academy experience possible for even more students, this year Sarah established the Sarah L. Titus and Tilda Morris Endowed Academy Scholarship.
Sarah made the decision to become an Interlochen donor before she graduated from the Academy. “It just was part of my upbringing to support the arts. It was ingrained in me from a young age, without words,” Sarah explains, noting that she saw her parents contributing to Interlochen even as they paid tuition. Her parents used to tell her, “Find what you love, what you’re passionate about, and support it.” A pew in Dendrinos Chapel has a plaque engraved with her name to remind her of her family’s commitment to giving back. She began making regular contributions herself soon after graduation and has looked for opportunities to increase her commitment over the years.
Sarah and her partner, fellow Academy alumna Tilda Morris (IAA 81-82), returned to campus in May for the Academy’s 50th anniversary celebration. Taking her place amongst the violins on the Kresge stage as part of the student-alumni string orchestra that performed during Collage, she once again experienced the embrace of Interlochen. Describing the time rehearsing and performing together with current students and dozens of alumni from all decades of the Academy, she says, “We were strangers, but we sat down together and it was like we were one orchestra.”
With her decision to establish a named endowed scholarship this year, Sarah helps ensure that students will find their place at Interlochen for years to come. “I’m just happy to be a part of it,” she says.