Spirit of the Gift Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's endowed funds

Samuel Ramey Opera Fellowship

A native of Colby, Kansas, Samuel E. Ramey was encouraged by his mother, a member of the church choir, to join school and community vocal groups. Active in music throughout high school, he would earn his bachelor's in music performance from Wichita State University in 1968. Apprenticeships at Central City Opera in Colorado and Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico, led him to New York City, where his rise to fame began in 1973 with his New York City Opera debut.

In 1984, he would make his acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera House. With his combination of commanding vocalism, musicianship, and elegant stage presence, Mr. Ramey has become the world s most recorded bass in history. He has appeared on the stages of opera houses world-wide, including Opera de Paris, the Vienna Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro la Fenice and London s Royal Opera. A recipient of the Kansas Citizen of the Arts Award, he also was honored as Kansan of the Year. In 1998, the French Ministry of Culture awarded him with the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Known for his geniality, Mr. Ramey established the Samuel Ramey Opera Fellowship in 1994, which provides support for graduate fellowships and/or assistantships. In 2001, he created the Samuel Ramey Professional Development Fund to provide financial support in making the transition between training and profession.