The Charles Williams Scholarship
Among the duties of Trustees of The Concord Free Public Library Corporation is the administration of a special endowed fund, The Charles Williams Fund, that provides an annual stipend for scholarships awarded to college-bound Concord students who demonstrate an interest and aptitude in the Studio Arts or in Music. The Fund is named for Library benefactor Charles Williams, a contemporary of the Library’s Founder, Williams Munroe. Charles H.S. Williams was born in Buffalo, New York in October, 1838 and attended college first at Yale University then Union College. He studied law, and went into practice in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was married. After practicing for some years, Charles changed course and studied Theology.
He relocated to Concord and was ordained as a Congregational Minister and served as Pastor of the Trinitarian Church in Concord from about 1868 to 1870. He underwent a change in his theological views, and stepped away from the church, going back to the practice of law. Sadly, Mr. Williams’ life ended prematurely when on December 26th, 1880 he was skating alone near Nine Acre Corner and it is surmised that he must have fallen through the ice. In his obituary he was hailed as a leading citizen of Concord, and a friend to all. Having no children of his own to inherit his wealth, Mr. Williams, working through the structure of The Library Corporation, created a fund that would benefit children of his fellow Concordians for generations to come.
The Williams bequest was notable in that Mr. Williams specifically indicated that scholarship funds should be equally available to young men and to young women. For many years The Williams Scholarship was run as an “affiliate fund” of The Concord-Carlisle Scholarship Fund (CCSF) which enabled the mechanics of scholarship administration to be managed in concert with other CCSF affiliate funds. During that time, the Library Corporation provided financial support to Williams Scholars who attended universities and colleges all over the United States.
In 2018, The Williams Scholarship was restructured to create two distinct awards, The Charles Williams Scholarship for Excellence in Music, and The Charles Williams Scholarship for Excellence in Visual Arts. For a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.
2018 Grant Year
- Timothy Collins, Williams Scholar, Denison University, Class of 2019
- Elanna Honan, Williams Scholar, Boston University, Class of 2020
- Helen Wargelin, Williams Scholar, Northwestern University, Class of 2020
2019 Grant Year
- Rebecca Pasley, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2019, Oberlin College and Conservatory, Class of 2023 (The Charles Williams Scholar for Excellence in Music)
- Thomas Kim, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2019, University of Southern California, Class of 2023 (The Charles Williams Scholar for Excellence in the Visual Arts)
- Lily Cratsley, Groton School, Class of 2019, Georgetown University, Class of 2023 (Honorable Mention in Music)
- Beth Fineberg, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2019, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Class of 2023 (Honorable Mention in Music)
2020 Grant Year
- Eleanor Kuchar, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2020, Tufts University, Class of 2024 (Honorable Mention in Music)
- Madeline Mueller, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2020, Tufts University, Class of 2024 (Honorable Mention in Music)
2021 Grant Year
- Kincaid DeBell, Concord Academy, Class of 2021, Lewis & Clark College, Class of 2025 (Visual Arts Winner)
- Alexander Krusell, Commonwealth School, Class of 2021, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class of 2025 (Honorable Mention in Visual Arts)
- Laurel Sharakan, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2021, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Class of 2025 (Music Winner)
- True Becker, Concord-Carlisle High School, Class of 2021, Tufts University, Class of 2025 (Honorable Mention in Music)
California Institute of the Arts
Case Western Reserve University
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Ida College
Oberlin College and Conservatory
Rochester Institute of Technology
St. Anselm College
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Massachusetts/Amherst
University of Michigan
University of New Hampshire
University of Southern California
Westfield State University
The Charles Williams Scholarship Committee
The Charles Williams Scholarships for Excellence in Music and Visual Arts are awarded on an annual basis by the Trustees of The Concord Free Public Library Corporation. Each year, The Williams Committee will select one Williams Scholar for Excellence in Music, and one Williams Scholar for Excellence in the Visual Arts. The amount of each annual scholarship for Music and for Visual Arts will range from $3,000 to $5,000. In addition, one or more students may receive Honorable Mention designation. Students receiving an Honorable Mention designation will receive a scholarship award in an amount to be determined by the Trustees with input from The Scholarship Committee.
Williams Scholars and Honorable Mention winners are selected in the sole discretion of the Trustees in consultation with The Williams Committee, a committee of specialists in music and the visual arts who have been appointed by the Trustees to direct the selection process and to advise with regard to the management of the scholarship program. Short biographies of Williams Committee members have been provided on this site.
All Scholarship awards are non-renewable and will be paid directly by the Concord Free Public Library Corporation to the educational institution where the selected student will matriculate.
A Trusts and Estates attorney by training, Cristina Coletta Blau has been a Trustee of The Concord Free Public Library since 2016, and also served as a member of The Concord Library Committee from 2008 – 2012. Cristina is the Trustee Chair of The Charles Williams Scholarship Committee. A graduate of Harvard College and Georgetown University Law School, Cristina holds an L.L.M. in Taxation from Boston University and practiced for several years at two downtown Boston law firms. Cristina is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association and is extremely active in university affairs.
Cristina’s love of the arts began as an undergraduate when she served as the Arts Editor of The Harvard Crimson, the college’s daily newspaper. She continues to advise on media projects and has served as a creative consultant for documentary film. Cristina is a lifelong champion of classical music and a three decade-long attendee of Thursday evening Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts. She is also the parent of a student musician (trombone) and has been an active member of the parent support communities at The Fenn School and Concord-Carlisle High School.
Kate James has an undergraduate degree in Art History and a masters in Social Work. Kate loves her job working as the Executive Director at Concord Art. Kate’s first job out of college was at the Frumkin Gallery, a contemporary realist art gallery in New York. From there, she directed several different galleries in New York and Boston. Kate currently serve on the Board of Directors, Curatorial Committee and Education and Programming Committee at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Kate lives in Concord with her husband, Ben James, and her two sons, Will and Ted.
Jack Megan is Director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard. The OFA is the central arts office for Harvard College. It supports some 3,000 students in the practice of the arts, as well as the work of many faculty artists university-wide. Jack leads a staff of professional orchestral and choral conductors; dance faculty and choreographers; theater professionals across the campus; the Harvard Ceramics Studio; and a host of programs that support artistic development with fellowships, project grants and production guidance. The OFA also curates a busy season of guest artist residencies from around the globe, and produces one of the nation’s largest collegiate arts festivals, ARTS FIRST, over four days each May.
Jack is also a pianist, composer and occasional playwright whose most recent work was performed at the New York Musical Theater Festival and at Ars Nova Theater in New York. His awards include the Richard Rodgers Prize for Musical Theater (Stephen Sondheim, Chair) and the American Harmony Prize.
Jack came to Harvard from the Fidelity Foundation, where he was a Program Director with responsibility for grant making across the Foundation’s four fields of philanthropic interest: the arts, education, community development and medical research. Prior to joining Fidelity, he was Associate and eventually Executive Director of the Longy School of Music, a Cambridge-based music conservatory serving 1,200 students from around the nation and abroad. Before his Longy years, Jack served as Director of Development for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Wendy Putnam, Founder and Director of the Concord Chamber Music Society, has been a violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1997. She has collaborated and concertized with many of the world's most renowned musicians, as well as with her BSO colleagues. Distinguished artists have not only recognized Ms. Putnam's ability as a highly accomplished violinist, but also commended her devotion to the arts and humanity.
Wendy was born in Wisconsin and began her study of the violin there at the age of three. She made her first appearance in the concert hall at the age of nine when she was invited to perform as soloist with the Green Bay Symphony. By age sixteen she enrolled at Louisiana State University under the guidance of Professor Sally O' Reilly, where she completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. In 1991 while completing her Master of Music degree with Josef Gingold at Indiana University, Ms. Putnam was appointed Concertmaster of the New Orleans Symphony. Ms. Putnam has been the recipient of awards from numerous organizations, including the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Henry B. Cabot Foundation at Tanglewood.