Dr. Linda Schele Memorial Art Scholarship

The Dr. Linda Schele Memorial Art Scholarship was established by Dr. Heather Orr, Professor of Art History at Western, to provide scholarship assistance and recognition to Western Colorado University students majoring in Art.

Dr. Linda Schele was a world-famous Mayanist and epigrapher. She studied the art and culture of the ancient Maya people, and was one of the most important people in deciphering their hieroglyphs. Linda passed away in 1998, at the young age of 55, but left behind a remarkable legacy.

Even though Dr. Schele was a superstar, known to the public as well as academics world-wide, she always made everyone she met feel important. She believed strongly in open scholarship; she shared her own work with scholars and interested laypeople generously, and inspired her students to work collaboratively. Linda’s mentorship and generous spirit, more than anything, shaped Dr. Orr’s own values as a scholar and a professor.

Dr. Schele was incredibly generous with her students; she supported many students who otherwise might not have been able to complete their degrees, and was especially sensitive to students from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. (Heather was one of those students: a single mother, with meager finances and little confidence in her ability to undertake a doctorate in such a competitive discipline.) Additionally, Linda was originally trained as an artist, but her love of the Maya took her into the field of Precolumbian Studies. Dr. Orr wanted to honor Linda with a scholarship that provided support for Art students who might also have the odds stacked against them for one reason or another. When Linda’s widowed husband was asked for permission to create this scholarship with these goals, he was deeply touched and said it honored her memory perfectly.

Students receiving this scholarship are encouraged to remember and perpetuate Linda Schele’s legacy of kindness, openness, sharing, and generosity as they embark on their own academic careers.


Full-time, formally-admitted Art majors
Students must have and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater
Preference given to students meeting one or more of the following criteria: demonstrate financial need, non-traditional students, single parents, women, minorities, participants in Western Spectrum and those using technical assistance

Supplemental Questions
  1. Transcript
  2. Portfolio and paper
  3. Student Art Goals