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Titan Profile: Karen Campman Emmett ’75

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Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

B.M., Music Education/Voice
West Middlesex, Pennsylvania

As a busy Westminster music major, Karen Campman Emmett '75 still managed to take advantage of all that Westminster had to offer—and for her, that only enriched her Westminster experience. And now more than four decades later, the retired public school music educator still gets involved whenever and wherever she can. She is the definition of Titan pride!

Why did you choose Westminster College?
I chose Westminster College because it had a first-rate music program. I had also studied privately with Carol Schoenhard, a voice professor at Westminster, during my high school years and loved my time with her and in the music department. Westminster was the place for me! I also have done graduate work at Westminster earning a professional certificate in Administration and Curriculum, K-12. The Graduate School professors were very engaging and I believe invested in me and my education.

What have you been up to since graduating from Westminster?
I taught vocal music in the public schools for 31 years after graduation. During this time I continued to study voice and had my own voice studio. As well as teaching, I have sung and continue to sing professionally in the tri-state area and enjoy choral singing with the Shenango Valley Chorale. In addition to my music responsibilities, I have volunteered for many organizations and my church. One of the highlights of my volunteerism has been to serve on Westminster's Alumni Council. I had the privilege to serve as president and sit on the Board of Trustees as an ad-hoc member, as a result of this, and most recently served four years as chair of the Philanthropy and Stewardship Committee. Over the years I have also served on my cluster reunion committees. I enjoy being a volunteer at Westminster and helping in any way that I can. Though busy with lots of volunteering in my retirement, I enjoy reading, gardening, crafting, painting (watercolor), crocheting, sewing, golfing, biking and so much more.

How well did Westminster prepare you for your career?
I was well prepared to become a music teacher. My education prepared me for going out into the world to teach and my student teaching placement was chosen with my strengths and personality in mind. I felt well prepared to take on the world.

How would you describe the level of academics you experienced during your time at Westminster College?
If you are a music major you are busy all of the time! In addition to the core studies, that everyone is required to take, a musician has many, many extra classes as well as performance groups. It was and remains one of the most rigorous curricula at Westminster.

What Westminster professors influenced you the most and why?
My voice teacher, Mrs. Carol Schoenhard, who was my private teacher through high school and my years at Westminster, was a huge influence on me. She was not only my professor, but my mentor and friend. She was always in my corner and helped me in so many ways not related to music. We actually stayed in touch until her death a few years ago.

Did you participate in any organizations or activities when you were a student?
As a music major you have limited time to be involved on campus, however it was very important for me to be part of all that the college had to offer. I was a member and officer of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, the Pan-Hellenic Conference, served on the student yearbook staff and was a four-year member of a select volunteer vocal group, The New Wilming-Ten. In addition, I worked for the food service, Saga Foods, for spending money and to pay for my sorority expenses.

What makes the Westminster College experience unique?
Everything! Smaller class size is so important. My professors knew me and I knew them. It was so easy to access them and get the help needed as well as get to know them as people. I not only received an excellent education, I met people who became my lifelong friends.

What significant life lesson did you learn at Westminster?
Stay the course, no matter how difficult it may be.

Why should a prospective student consider coming to Westminster College?
The entire educational and social experience at Westminster is so unique. If you come to Westminster you will become family and will love it your entire life. If you look at the accolades Westminster has garnered you will know that this is no ordinary institution of higher education. It is ranked by several organizations among the best small colleges in the United States. There is a reason for this—look at the entire package that Westminster offers!

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself on that first day on campus?
Try not to be overwhelmed! There is so much during the first days and it is so easy to be overwhelmed and scared. It will all settle down and you will see that you will be able to achieve what has been set down before you.

Has Westminster’s alumni network benefited you in your job search or career?
I was then as I am now amazed at the number of alumni who are out there—and when they hear that you are also a Westminster grad, they go the extra mile to help you.

To learn more about Westminster’s music major, please visit