Vans and Berklee Partner to Offer Full Scholarship

By 
Margot Edwards
February 4, 2014

Vans, the original action sports footwear and apparel brand, and Berklee College of Music announce the founding of the Vans Berklee Off the Wall Scholarship—a four-year award covering full tuition, room, and board. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a talented musician from the U.S. This is the first educational initiative of its kind for Vans, a brand rich in music culture that supports creative musicians and has deep roots in genres ranging from punk and metal to indie rock and hip-hop.

At Vans, off the wall is a state of mind, thinking differently and embracing people who love art, music, action sports, and/or street culture. The ideal candidate for the Vans Berklee Scholarship will demonstrate the off-the-wall spirit via their personal self-expression through music. The scholarship will be awarded to a musician whose focus and talent represents Vans’ dedication to musical progression and evolution.

The first Vans Berklee Off the Wall Scholar will begin at the college in the fall of 2014. Recipients will be chosen through Berklee's auditions and interviews held in cities around the world. Upcoming audition sites include Boston (February 15, 22 and March 1, 8), Chicago (February 14-16), Dallas (February 20-21), Los Angeles (February 20-22), Miami (February 21-23), New York (February 20-22), Philadelphia (February 28-March 2), and Seattle (February 26-27). Visit Berklee.edu/admissions for the full schedule.

When Vans first opened its doors almost 50 years ago in Anaheim, California, the Van Doren family always made a point to give back to the community in which they worked. That spirit of giving continues as Vans remains committed to support the communities, environments, and creative platforms of action sports, youth development, art, and now music.

“Berklee awarded its first bachelor of music degrees in 1966, the year Vans was founded. Throughout the decades, Vans and Berklee have both celebrated the freedom and individuality that comes from creative expression, making it a perfect partnership,” said Vans president Kevin Bailey. “Vans’ history has been built alongside athletes, artists, designers, and musicians—as each has made Vans part of the canvas of their lives. That is something we look for in all of our brand relationships. We are looking forward to a long relationship together embracing and elevating students' creativity."

Not only will the Vans Berklee Scholar be able to focus on pursuing his/her music education without financial concerns, but the recipient will also be immersed in Vans culture, outfitted with a Vans-themed dorm room and laptop. The recipient will also have opportunity to showcase his/her musical talents during events and venues like House of Vans and The Vans Warped Tour.

The scholarship recipient isn’t the only beneficiary of the partnership. Vans is committed to providing additional opportunities for Berklee students, including performances at House of Vans locations and Vans’ Open Mic Nights at Vans venues across the country. Vans Vinyl will also collaborate with Berklee’s student-run label Heavy Rotation Records to produce and distribute a compilation of student music. Upper classman will also have the chance to participate in a music-related summer internship at Vans.

“Here you find two institutions with like-minded philosophies: freedom of self-expression through creativity,” said Jeffrey Dorenfeld, Berklee professor of music business/management and advisor to Heavy Rotation Records, who spearheaded the partnership with Vans. “For Vans it can be demonstrated on a skateboard, a bike, or on stage. At Berklee, creativity is found in the classroom, on stage, in a studio, or behind a computer. Together we hope to enable students to live out their dreams.”

Citizens and residents of the U.S. are eligible to be considered for the Vans Berklee Scholarship. Applicants who qualify, based on merit and financial need, will be nominated for the Vans Scholarship by Berklee’s scholarship committee. Selection of the Vans Berklee Off the Wall Scholar will be announced in May each year.

All applicants will be considered for a host of other scholarships that Berklee awards annually as part of the Berklee World Tour. Berklee's unique audition and interview process is designed to uncover the applicant's musical strengths and academic goals while helping assess their aptitude and ability to succeed in the college's dynamic environment. Each year, Berklee visits more than 40 cities around the world in search of talented instrumentalists and vocalists—an effort that is supported with $30 million in scholarship funds available to prospective and continuing students.

Vans supports original and creative music acts ranging from Band of Horses to Public Enemy to Turbonegro by bringing memorable shows to global audiences at the House of Vans roving music venue that echoes Vans’ Brooklyn-based cultural hub and to more than a half-million fans each summer at the Vans Warped Tour, America’s longest-running music tour.  Shoe and clothing collaborations with Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden, Iggy Pop, Descendents, KISS, Social Distortion, No Doubt, Slayer, and Metallica are among the many coveted projects that suit an "off-the-wall" lifestyle for music fans everywhere.

Margot Edwards is a manager in the Office of Media Relations. Media inquiries: medwards@berklee.edu.