Each year, we bring together the Fletcher Fellows of the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and the Fletcher Scholars from the Wake Forest University School of Law. We’re happy to meet these fellows and leaders from their institutions in Winston Salem to get to know each other better and share a little about the Fletcher history.
Our partnership with the Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA reflects our long-standing support for the arts, education, and creating opportunities for future leaders. The foundation partnered with UNCSA in 2000 by committing $10 million to establish an opera institute there, and in 2001 merged the National Opera Company with UNCSA’s graduate opera program to create the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute. Several exceptional singers are chosen as Fletcher Fellows each year, where they receive a diverse education, performance-based professional training, and participate in community outreach programs.
We are also proud to partner with Wake Forest University to provide scholarships for three or four top law students each year. These scholarships provide opportunities for emerging leaders to pursue their interests and develop the skills and knowledge they’ll need in their careers. Jim Goodmon, chair of our board and grandson of AJ Fletcher, encouraged the Fletcher Scholars to pursue public interest law and said that he, “hopes they will affect change and make things better” for communities around North Carolina.
These opportunities reflect our organization’s history and honor the legacy of the Fletcher family.The current AJ Fletcher Foundation grew out of AJ Fletcher’s commitment to making opera accessible to North Carolina communities. Beginning with the Grassroots Opera Company in 1948, and continuing through the National Opera Company, he encouraged opera to be sung in English and begun the long-standing tradition of having opera performed in schools around North Carolina. His love of opera and strong belief that the arts should be made accessible to all continues through our partnership with the Fletcher Opera Institute, UNCSA, and the annual Fletcher Fellows. AJ Fletcher’s son Frank attended Wake Forest Law School, and in 1981 the first Fletcher Scholarships were awarded to top law students to support the institution, reflect his commitment to justice work, and empower future leaders.
These exceptional students’ talents are varied but we’re proud to play a role in creating opportunities for their future success as leaders in their fields.
Cody Montá, Fletcher Opera Fellow, Baritone
“I like the outreach performances, going to schools without access to opera. It’s important that kids who look like me are exposed to opera and the arts… Hopefully I can inspire someone.”
Samantha Sells, 1st Year Law Student
“Without the Fletcher scholarship, I wouldn’t be in law school. A lot of people look at law school as something that’s not achievable because it’s so expensive, so it’s important that there are programs like this that make it possible.”
Fletcher Opera Institute
Featured: Lindsay Bierman, UNCSA Chancellor; Jim Goodmon, AJF Board Chair; Lindsay Mecher, Fletcher Fellow; Megan Cleaveland, Fletcher Fellow; Jenny Schuler, Fletcher Fellow; Simon Petersson, Fletcher Fellow; Cody Montá, Fletcher Fellow; Nic Muni, Fletcher Opera Institute Artistic Director
Wake Forest University School of Law
Featured: Jim Goodmon, AJF Board Chair; Nathan Young, Fletcher Scholar; Samantha Sells, Fletcher Scholar; Suzanne Reynolds, Dean, WFU School of Law; Sarah Saint, Fletcher Scholar; Eric Jones, Fletcher Scholar; Sidney Shapiro, Fletcher Chair of Administrative Law