UNT College of Music names undergraduate Presser Scholar


Ruth Mertens, a harp music performance student from Natchitoches, was named the University of North TexasCollege of Music’s 2018-19 Presser Scholar and recipient of a $4,000 Presser scholarship.

The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award is presented annually to a student entering his or her senior year who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments. The Presser award is considered the most prestigious undergraduate award in music at UNT and is provided by the Presser Foundation that awards annual scholarships, grants and funds for the furthering of music education and music in America. “I am so excited and surprised,” Mertens said. “UNT has such an outstanding music school and so many of my fellow musicians are worthy of this award. It was an honor just to be nominated.”

The winner is nominated and selected by UNT music faculty. The scholarship has been awarded annually for more than six decades. Jaymee Haefner, professor of harp who nominated Mertens for the scholarship, said, “In every opportunity, Ruth represents the best of the UNT College of Music and does so with poise and humility.

Currently in her junior year, Ruth is preparing and performing repertoire which would be challenging for some doctoral students. In the summer of 2017, Ruth accompanied the UNT HarpBeats in their Hong Kong performance for the World Harp Congress which featured one of her arrangements. This summer, she will perform at Lyon and Healy Hall for the Summer Concert Series in Chicago with the other members of our harp studio. She is an exemplary student with many bright opportunities ahead and I’ve been so honored to work with her.”

Mertens said she credits Haefner for putting opportunities in her path to help her grow both as a musician and a scholar and that the scholarship will open doors for her to pursue a postgraduate degree.