IMTA Honored Douglas Sperry at the 2018 IMTA State Conference at Sweetwater Sound with the Distinguished Service Award. This award is a very special award that is given at the discretion of the IMTA State President and presented on rare occasion to recognize outstanding service to IMTA. Former recipients include Jack Eaton (1995), Verna Abe, Carolyn Hertzler, and Karen Thickstun (2002), Juliana Lockman (2005), and Margaret Roby (2014).
Doug has been teaching private piano lessons since he was 15 years old. The only significant break he has taken from independent teaching was during the past year when he was undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer. His music degrees are a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a Master of Music in piano performance from Michigan State University, and all the work except dissertation for a Ph.D. in Theory, Music History, and Piano, also from Michigan State University.
The beginning of his college teaching career in music was interrupted by the birth of his first child, Ethan, and a subsequent commitment to be the primary caregiver for his children (Emma was born seven years later). During these years while continuing to teach piano he also completed a Masters degree in Psychology at Catholic University. With the move to Terre Haute, he taught psychology courses at ISU and conducted research with his wife, Linda, who is also a psychologist on the faculty there. Later, at the age of 50 (when Emma headed off to college) he started his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois. While there he was a National Scholar Foundation recipient and was hired to teach at St. Mary of the Woods College outside Terre Haute.
Doug is currently a tenured Associate Professor at St. Mary’s where he also plays the organ for school ceremonies! With the return of his health, he has been able to return to piano teaching. Through all the years of leading this “double” life as a pianist and psychologist, he has guided countless piano students in their studies and in their “growing up”. He has also been generous to colleagues with fulfilling leadership positions in the Wabash Valley Music Teachers Association (ten years as its president) and with his countless hours of administrations at the state level for the AIM auditions program.