Nearly 90 percent of Juilliard students qualify for scholarship support.
Fifty-nine years ago this month, Van Cliburn (Diploma '54, piano; honorary degree '98) made headlines around the world when he won the gold medal at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. Cliburn was always a generous supporter of Juilliard. In 1963, he gave a Juilliard benefit concert at Carnegie Hall for the AlumniAssociation Scholarship Fund. He later led the Alumni Fund. In 1978, Cliburn gave the commencement address and awarded the first Van Cliburn Scholarship and Prize, a full-tuition scholarship plus living expenses, to Sara Davis Buechner (BM '80, MM '81, piano), then a second-year student of Beveridge Webster (faculty 1946–90). He established the scholarship in honor of his mother, Rildia Bee O'Bryan Cliburn, his only piano teacher from age 3 until he came to Juilliard at age 17; he and his mother took classes together in the Juilliard Summer School for several years. A year before he died, in 2013, Cliburn auctioned off his piano, with the stipulation that the proceeds were divided between the Moscow Conservatory and Juilliard; our portion endowed the Van Cliburn Scholarship in the Pre-College Division.