MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The death of Valerie Canady in the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 was tragic for her parents, but offered them a chance to help their daughter’s name live on at WVU.
The Valerie Canady Charitable Trust Foundation continues, 30 years after her death, to provide students with a chance to finance their education in music, the arts, theatre, and dance.
Keith Jackson, Dean of the WVU School of Music, said the late William J. Canady and his wife Loulie Canady — Valerie’s parents — were not just believers in the power of the arts, but what the arts could do for the world.
“They’re really dedicated to the idea that if people understand culture and the arts and language, communication will be better,” he said. “That communication is better because of understanding — the idea of an act like this is less likely. They believe that one way to battle hatred is with understanding of the arts.”
The scholarship requires a student either already be bi-lingual or multi-lingual or learning a new language while at school.
“I can be walking around the Creative Arts Center and in a 50 foot span hear three, four, five languages being spoken,” Jackson said. “And then see someone talk to somebody else in English. And it’s a pretty normal occurrence.”
“If you think about that, especially in a city the size of Morgantown, that’s amazing,” Jackson added.
The School of Music — much like the other schools that comprises WVU’s programs dedicated to the arts — is incredibly diverse, Jackson said. But instead of tension or division, he sees unity and learning.
“There might be tensions in those countries, we don’t see it in our building,” he said. “Same thing with religious differences. You don’t see that kind of religious tension. So you might see somebody who is of one religion going to another student’s church and checking it out.”
That’s something, Jackson said, that would have made — and still does make — all the Canady’s proud.
William Canady passed away last year around this time. Jackson said he is missed, but believes his legacy to the program is secure.
“For Bill Canady, he had a great knowledge of music — especially jazz,” Jackson said. “He was a big jazz lover and had a knowledge of music and was an avid photographer.”
Loulie Canady, he said, lived in Columbia early on in life — giving her an appreciation for other cultures.
“We had a piano player from Columbia,” Jackson said. “She would talk every year to him at length. He just recently moved back home, and I know he’s been in communication.”
Canady, 25 at the time of her death and working as an accountant in London, was one of two West Virginians killed in the terrorist attack. 34-year-old Harry Bainbridge, a lawyer for pepsi, was on his way home to New York when killed in the attack.
Bainbridge grew up in Fairmont.