Adrienne Perner’s life will be remembered because of her passion to help people, her love for ballet and the first endowed scholarship made in her name in the ballet and modern dance department.The Adrienne Miller Perner Memorial Scholarship was established by her husband, alumnus Jim Perner, in memory of Adrienne, who died at 67 in a car accident last year.
“Honoring Adrienne with this scholarship at the university I graduated from is a proud and loving moment in my life,” said Perner, who graduated in 1960 with a marketing degree.
Ellen Shelton, chairwoman of the dance department, said the $5,000 annual scholarship, which begins next year, is only for female ballet majors.
Male candidates may be considered if female candidates do not meet the eligibility criteria, Shelton said.
The scholarship is mostly talent-based, though the recipient must also show exceptional interest in helping others through community and volunteer activities, Perner said.
The recipient must be from a military family, Perner said, because Adrienne had family members who attended the U.S. Military Academy.
“She was a free spirit, a butterfly that loved dance,” said John Perner, Jim and Adrienne Perner’s son. “I want whoever receives this scholarship to have a military connection and passion for dance so her spirit of dance and ballet will continue.”
Adrienne Perner attended the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C., and performed in New York, Pittsburgh and Europe.
“She was absolutely wonderful when she danced,” Jim Perner said. “She was gorgeous and incredibly good.”
Adrienne continued her love of dance as she taught ballet in Albuquerque, N.M., at the Dorothy Knight School of Dance, Jim Perner said.
“She loved teaching ballet and teaching children,” John Perner said. “She loved teaching children about manners and social skills through ballet.”
Jim and Adrienne Perner met in El Paso and moved to Albuquerque in 1965.
Adrienne volunteered at hospitals, churches, women’s clubs and the humane society in New Mexico and Arizona, Jim Perner said.
“We are proud to honor the memory of a person as outstanding and highly regarded as Adrienne Perner through this scholarship, which will contribute to the lives of ballet students in perpetuity,” said Scott Sullivan, dean of the college of fine arts.
Jim, John and Jeffrey Perner want to keep her name alive through helping a ballet student.
“Adrienne would be delighted,” Jim Perner said. “She would think the scholarship was a very nice thing and ask, ‘Why me?’ It was just in her nature to help people.