========================================================ASU blind pianist among nation's top undergrads
William HermannThe Arizona Republic
Mar. 3, 2005 12:00 AM For Scott MacIntyre, it seems, anything is possible.
The 19-year-old Arizona State University student has been blind since birth, but his list of accomplishments makes one understand why he says "most of us have gifts we never use. Once we understand that, we can do almost whatever we want no matter what our challenges."
MacIntyre is a senior in piano performance in the Herberger College of Fine Arts. He is a talented classical pianist who entered ASU at 14 and made his orchestral debut the following year, performing as guest soloist with the Phoenix Symphony.
He has performed in hundreds of charity concerts all over North America, appearing for the Braille Institute, Ronald McDonald Charities, the Mayo Clinic and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
MacIntyre writes music for television productions, teaches ballroom dancing, skis with a sighted guide and gives motivational speeches.
He began playing piano at 3, but also knew only too well that he had a disability.
"It would be possible (with a disability) to grow up with bitter feelings that would be hard to reverse," MacIntyre said. "And I've had to deal with rejection, because people have preconceived notions. And beginning ASU at age 14 was awkward."
MacIntyre says he is grateful for how well ASU administrators and teachers "looked out for me, took care of me, encouraged me."
One of those administrators was Janet Burke, associate dean for National Scholarship Advisement at the Barrett Honors College.
"Scott is just an extraordinary person," Burke said. "He has tremendous drive, tremendous ambition, but he is also the nicest person you'll ever want to meet.
"He is not arrogant. He knows who he is and is very, very kind. He's interested in other people. In fact, he's interested in everything."
MacIntyre says he also owes much to "an incredibly supportive family; always encouraging me, always helping me know I can go as far as I want to go."
The encouragement from family and ASU administrators and faculty has paid off.
USA Today recently named MacIntyre to its annual list of the top 20 undergraduates in the United States.
School spokeswoman Sarah Auffret said 10 ASU students have earned USA Today first-team honors over the years, and another six have been named to the second team. First-team winners, chosen from more than 600 top students nominated from their schools, receive a $2,500 award.
Auffret said, "The national recognition is especially meaningful because a panel of judges considers not only grades, leadership and activities but, most of all, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom."
MacIntyre also won a Marshall Scholarship from the British Government.
Burke said that 40 Marshalls are given annually. They allow U.S. students to study for two years in Great Britain and are worth about $60,000, she said.
MacIntyre is taking full advantage of his Marshall Scholarship and plans to take a master's degree at Cambridge University in England next year and another master's from London's Royal College of Music the following year.
Those who would like to hear MacIntyre play the piano can go to his senior recital at 7:30 p.m. April 9 in ASU's Katzin Concert Hall. Also, he is featured in a concert at Gammage Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. April 26, as the winner of the ASU Concert of Soloists competition. He will appear with the ASU Chamber Orchestra.
To keep up with MacIntyre's career go to www.scott