Students thank benefactor for life-changing scholarships

Maeve McQueeny, 04-19-2023

Marta Weeks Wulf, University of Miami trustee emerita, has enhanced virtually every corner of the University. Current students and recent graduates from the Frost School of Music reflect on the transformative impact of her broad and deep philanthropic support of the U.
Marta Weeks Wulf
Marta Weeks Wulf and her husband, Karl Wulf, at the 2017 Frost School of Music Winter Wonderful event. Karl Wulf passed away in 2020. Photo: Jenny Abreu for the University of Miami


Grecia Dianel Rivera Carrasquillo, a junior in the University of Miami Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, grew up in Puerto Rico, raised on Latin music and evenings punctuated by the metronomic croak of the beloved coquí frog native to the island.

Although her family wasn’t musical, she dreamed of contributing to her country’s rich musical tapestry. She took whatever music lessons she could and has been writing songs for as long as she can remember.

When the opportunity arose to interview for the Frost School, she jumped at the chance.

Rivera was grateful to secure a scholarship through the generosity of Marta Weeks Wulf, University of Miami trustee emerita. It was precisely the inspiration and support she needed. Recently, Rivera released her debut Latin pop single, “Hipérbole.” The aspiring singer-songwriter says she’s “excited for what is to come” thanks to her scholarship support.

The daughter of a schoolteacher, Weeks Wulf understood the value of education and the power educational institutions hold to create more significant opportunities for individuals and the community. That belief led her and her late first husband, L. Austin Weeks, to name and endow two scholarships exclusive to the Frost School and a third endowed scholarship to assist other aspiring ’Canes more broadly.

For years, Weeks Wulf found great joy in meeting with her scholarship recipients, hearing their stories, and learning how the scholarship they received was helping them fulfill their dreams of a college education.

Now in her 90s with declining health and being cautious because of the lingering COVID-19 virus, Weeks Wulf no longer meets with the students in person. Yet, the gratitude for her life-changing impact shines in the students who have benefited from her philanthropy.

Alumnus Thandolwethu Mamba came to the Frost School from Eswatini, a small country in southern Africa, to work toward an artist diploma in vocal performance.

For Mamba, the scholarship assistance helped him attend auditions and participate in competitions. It enabled him to develop as a singer and an overall artist without worrying about whether he could afford his education.

Mamba won first place in the 2022 Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition, an opera competition to identify and support highly talented vocalists.

For fellow alumnus Steven R. Dunn, the cost of higher education threatened to place his dream school out of reach.

Today, he is a proud graduate of the University with a degree in media writing and production. An aspiring film composer, his master’s degree thesis examined the preparation and composition of film scores and their roles in strengthening the overall storytelling. 

The scholarship “changed the trajectory of my life,” he said.

Alumna Ella Tomko, an accomplished cellist, said her scholarship opened her up to new experiences and valuable lessons that she doubts she could have learned elsewhere. “I’m very thankful for my unique experience here at Frost,” she noted.

Tomko and her family were very grateful for the opportunity that the scholarship created for her to develop as a musician. “It’s nice not to worry as much about certain finances; it allows me to focus on my music and art,” she pointed out.

Weeks Wulf’s relationship with the University of Miami spans four decades, representing tens of millions of dollars in giving. She has empowered many students to pursue their educational and professional goals and altered countless futures for the better. Her philanthropy also resulted in the creation of the L. Austin Weeks Center for Recording and Performance, the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center, the Marta and L. Austin Weeks Music School Fund, the L. Austin Weeks Music Discretionary Fund, and the Weeks Unrestricted Endowment Fund.

“I’ve always told Marta Weeks that she is the heart of the Frost School,” said Shelton G. Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music. “Her giving transformed our campus and ushered in a period of world-class facilities. When we needed $1 million to move forward with planning the soon-to-be-open Knight Center for Music Innovation, Marta stepped forward with the funds. The Weeks Scholars program was an engine of our success by providing the resources for top students to attend Frost. Marta Weeks is a very special friend.” 

In addition, the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science; the School of Nursing and Health Studies; the Miller School of Medicine; and the Debbie Institute at the Mailman Center for Child Development are beneficiaries of Weeks Wulf’s generosity. She also has established two endowed chairs—the Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies and the Weeks Chair in Marine Geology and Geophysics, created the L. Austin Weeks Family Endowed Urologic Research fund, supported the Foote Fellows fund, made history as the first female chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, and watched two generations of the family become proud ’Canes.

Janie Lobel is a junior studying classical voice and hopes to use her degree to work in music education. Her scholarship supports her studies, passions, and interests outside of her music degree, enabling her to take advantage of all the University offers.

She is active in organizations across the University and leads the National Association for Music Education chapter at the U.

Lobel said this about her generous donor: “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity means the world to my family and me. I would not be here studying everything I love without your help. I’m accomplishing everything I’ve always wanted, and it’s all thanks to you and your generosity.”

And, if you ask Weeks Wulf what her legacy means to her, she responds humbly: “The pleasure has been all mine.”