Select Page

She was scheduled to compete in a statewide piano competition in Louisville at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.

But at 12:20 p.m. Ligia Tossato, an EKU student from Brazil, called her professor, Bernardo Scarambone, with some bad news. Her car had broken down on the highway en route to the competition.

“I was very worried about her and her car,” Scarambone said, “but the only thought in her mind was, ‘How do I get to the competition?’ She was calling me to let me know her plans to get a taxi and pay $180 just for the opportunity to compete.”

What happened next only confirmed the University’s historic role as a “School of Opportunity.” Scarambone reached out to music faculty colleague Joseph VanFleet, who in turn contacted one of his students. Tanner Hutchins, who was planning to drive to Louisville for the same competition later that evening, “dropped everything,” picked up Tossato, and together they rushed to Louisville.

Despite arriving a scant 15 minutes before her scheduled performance time, Tossato was “surprisingly calm and played beautifully, winning the equivalent to second place,” Scarambone beamed.

“To complete the full circle of opportunity," he added, "we were able to arrange a ride back to Richmond that evening through another music student who is planning to attend EKU in the fall."

Scarambone said the day’s events reminded him that “when current students, future students and committed faculty work together, the results will always be positive.

“Nothing can stop someone who combines determination with opportunity, especially at EKU.”