Music Alumna of the Year: Award Goes to Colleen Bradstreet

      For the past 17 years, Colleen Bradstreet was the first person to greet anyone who walked into Workman Hall. She offered a smile and a welcoming word to all visitors alike, whether they were current music majors, prospective students, or visiting parents. In addition to creating a welcoming environment, Colleen has made tremendous contributions to the music department that have improved its function and facilitated its success. On Friday, she was recognized for these contributions by being named an honorary alumna and given the Music Alumna of the Year award.

     Colleen graduated from Eastern College in 1976 with a BS in Elementary Education, and began teaching at the preschool and elementary levels. During this time, she completed her master’s degree at Villanova University in counseling, finishing in 1985. In May of 2000, Colleen decided to move on from teaching and joined the staff of the music department at Eastern as the Administrative Assistant. When she arrived, Workman Hall was still set up to serve a residential function, making it rather uncomfortable for the music department. However, Colleen took it upon herself to transform Workman into a place where students could thrive. Sara Herman, the current Administrator for the music department who worked with Colleen for 10 years, said this about the changes Colleen made to Workman Hall: “She put a lot of effort into the building aesthetics. When the music department moved into Workman in 1993 until when she came in 2000, it was a house, but when she started here, she made changes to make it more comfortable for students and more professional looking. She was always willing to do anything for the building, even scrubbing stains herself; making sure that the department had a professional face was something she really took ownership of down to the last detail.”

      Colleen was also passionately involved in the day to day lives of the students in the department. During her time at Eastern, it was rare that she missed a concert; students always knew that she would be there supporting them. She was present at everything, from spring music festivals to senior recitals, making sure that everyone felt encouraged in their pursuit of the arts. Sara Herman also commented on Colleen’s presence in the department: “She was really the mom of the department; she wanted to make sure that every student felt comfortable and informed, and wanted to make sure that they were thinking professionally. She shaped the everyday lives of students when they came into the building.”

      Over the past few years, Colleen transitioned to a part-time position, before ultimately retiring after last year. The decision was a difficult one for her; the music department had really become intertwined with her heart and soul. Even after officially switching to a part-time schedule, Colleen would often stay long after her set hours, always wanting to make sure every task was done to perfection. Now, in retirement, Colleen continues to pour love into the things she cares about. She is enjoying spending time with her husband, Dr. David Bradstreet (‘76), Professor and Chair of the Astronomy and Physics department, and her two sons and three grandchildren. She and Dr. Bradstreet are also members of Church of the Savior in Wayne, where they are actively involved.

     Because of how much she has invested into the music department, it is only fitting that Colleen was made an honorary alumna during the Fine Arts Festival on Friday, being called to the stage to accept the certificate from the Chair of the Music department, Dr. Ron Matthews. She is the first person in the history of the department to be named an honorary alumna. Because she had received this honor, Colleen was also eligible to receive the Music Alumna of the Year award. This award is given out at the Fine Arts Festival every fall, recognizing an alumna who has contributed greatly to the music department or gone on to significant achievements in the field of music after graduating from Eastern. After the intermission, Colleen was called back to the stage to receive this award. During her acceptance speech, she emphasized how much the department meant to her and how much she loved the students, once again showing her caring spirit that has made her such a beloved figure in the department.

     The students and faculty of the music department would like to thank Colleen for her sincere care and selfless service, and would like to wish her the best in her deserved retirement.

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