Karl and Vera O'Lessker Friends of Music Scholarship

Karl O'Lessker was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Master's from Northwestern, and a doctorate from IU in 1959. He served in the Air Force, and was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Governors Welsh and Robert Orr.

O'Lessker joined the IU faculty in 1974 and served as director of the undergraduate studies in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs from 1982 to 1985. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1978 and 1980. He also became professor emeritus of the school in 1994.

In 1964, he ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress from Indiana's 6th District after serving as a legislative assistant to then-Indiana governor Matthew Welsh. O'Lessker became an expert on the federal budget after working with the U.S. Senate Finance and Appropriations committees, informing his later writings on the budgets adopted by Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

At IU, he was an adjunct senior research fellow at the Hudson Institute as well as a commissioner on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

He was known for a keen sense of humor, a love of great music, and his skills as a gourmet chef. O'Lessker passed away in 1998 at the age of 69. 

The Jacobs School of Music is honored to award the Karl and Vera O'Lessker Friends of Music Scholarship to undergraduate violin students.