WACO, TX — The loss of an exceptionally talented Baylor grad has led the university, their Music Department and the late student's family to begin a memorial fund in support of musician wellness.
Described by her loved ones as fierce, passionate, loving and inspirational, Sally Tepper, a 2018 Baylor University graduate, was working with the highly sought after Air Force Academy Band.
"She just had a certain something, that 'it' that you can't quite described," said Tepper's former Professor of Trumpet, Wiff Rudd.
"She brought this warmth and joy and level of empathy, Sally understood life's challenges," said Rudd.
"She was such a light for everyone else and I think that's the hardest part because a lot of people didn't realize she was struggling," said Sally's older sister, Libby Maguire.
She was talking with her newborn niece over video chat earlier this year when Sally said "you are beautiful, you are loved, you are precious." That conversation was one of the last they would ever have.
After passing away, the Tepper Family and Baylor University have come together to create a fund in Sally's honor.
"This fund will go towards bringing in people who can help us with our wellness, our spiritual, our physical, our mental wellness," said Rudd.
The two-fold fund will be focused on the wellness and mental well-being of students and talented musicians at Baylor, all while helping future music students by placing proceeds towards a student that exemplifies traits and values of Sally.
"I know this is going to be an important legacy for a phenomenal 24-year-old soul who had reached so many people in her life," said Rudd.
"You're just as valuable if you're first or second chair, whether you make it to professional symphony or orchestra, or if you're just teaching lessons on the side, you are valued regardless," said Maguire.
The memorial fund will open for gifting in the coming weeks, and in the meantime the Tepper Family have created t-shirts dawning Sally's lasting message of 'you are beautiful, you are loved, you are precious.'
All t-shirt proceeds will go towards The Sally Tepper Memorial Musician Wellness Fund.
"In the days after Sally's passing, we got a huge influx of messages from people, all over the world even, and they were sharing their messages of how Sally touched their lives and we realized this wasn't just her message to my daughter this was her message to everyone," said Maguire.
Tepper will now be forever memorialized at Baylor University.
"Just spreading her message of you are beautiful, you are loved, you are precious, and helping everyone to know just how much they actually are," said Maguire.
To purchase a 'you are beautiful, you are loved, you are precious' t-shirt to fund The Sally Tepper Memorial Musician Wellness Fund, click here.
When The Sally Tepper Memorial Musician Wellness Fund begins taking funds directly, you may contribute here.
If you would like to contribute to the fund prior to its opening, please contact Baylor's Director of Leadership Annual Giving, Stephen Sullivan, at 325-998-7838.