Tommy Gallant Scholarship Fund
The Tommy Gallant Scholarship Fund is established at the University of New Hampshire Foundation through the gifts made in memory of Thomas Leo Gallant (1935-1998), professional jazz pianist, educator, and friend of the University, from family, friends, colleagues, and admirers of his music. The purpose of the Tommy Gallant Scholarship Fund is to provide scholarship support for students at UNH. One or more scholarships shall be awarded annually to undergraduate or graduate students, preferably pianists, who are deemed to have the potential to reach a high level of achievement as performers, demonstrating the values of jazz feeling, imagination, historical awareness, and commitment which were exemplified by Tommy Gallant. In the absence of a qualified pianist, another rhythm section member (guitarist, bassist, percussionist) may be recommended. All scholarship recipients must demonstrate financial need. The UNH Music Department shall be responsible for the selection of recipients and for the administration of the Fund. Selection shall be made by a committee chaired by the director of the UNH Jazz Band or other individual responsible for jazz programs at UNH, and as possible, shall include individuals familiar with the nature of Tommy Gallant's musical accomplishments and contributions to the local jazz culture, and the need for preservation and perpetuation of traditional jazz music.
Tommy Gallant, through the scope of his musical activities, as well as his personal integrity, enthusiasm, and unselfishness, was for decades the qualitative reference point for jazz and its practitioners in the Seacoast area. Primarily self-taught, his musical career was influenced by his work with a virtual "Who's Who" of jazz artists representing a variety of stylistic ranges. Tommy was widely recognized for his performances as a solo pianist as well as with his two ensembles, the Tommy Gallant Trio and the Tommy Gallant All-Stars. A selfless educator, Tommy taught at the Berklee College of Music from '71 to '76 at Phillips Exeter Academy for 30 years, and as a private instructor for scores of students. Though Tommy was not formally affiliated with UNH, he studied piano briefly at the University early in his career, and had significant influence on both students and faculty through courses, workshops, and informal events he actively participated in.