SAU Featured in People Magazine after funding college for homeless piano prodigy

Homeless piano prodigy Donald Gould
Homeless piano prodigy Donald Gould

After Donald Gould was videotaped playing piano on the streets of Sarasota, Florida, he garnered national attention and was offered a full-ride scholarship to help him finish his degree at Spring Arbor University. In the less than two weeks since the video was posted, he's been given temporary housing, awarded a full scholarship to finish his degree at Spring Arbor University, and a GoFundMe page has raised $40,000 to help him "get back on track to his true potential."

Spring Arbor University was featured in People Magazine after we reached out to Gould. The former Marine had spent three years at SAU starting in 1990 before hard times hit and he dropped out. The piano prodigy was studying music education at the time he left the university.

Gould continues to have a passion for music education. Malachi Crane, SAU’s vice president for enrollment said, “We want to do everything we can to help him. We are an institution that believes strongly in the faith-based education we offer.”

SAU is looking at the credits Gould needs to achieve his degree and determine how best he can do so. A crew from TV’s Inside Edition took Gould for a makeover in July, he has been given temporary housing and more than $40,000 has been raised to get him back to his full potential.

Gould continues to be a viral sensation on YouTube with his musical talent. The video has over 9 million views of him playing the piano in downtown Sarasota. He recently reconnected with his son as a result of the national attention the video brought to him.

Gould said he played clarinet in the U.S. Marine Corps band and later studied music education with the hopes of becoming a music teacher. "I took music theory and ear training, and I had to learn how to play every instrument, from the piccolo down to the tuba," Gould said. "I can write parts like a handbook."

Three semesters short of graduation, his studies were cut short when he could no longer pay his tuition. He took a series of jobs, started a family and then succumbed to drug and alcohol addiction. Crane said. “At this time, there is no dollar figure associated with the scholarship, he said. “Whatever it takes, Spring Arbor is fully committed to this,” Crane said.

SAU Online welcomes veterans and coordinates veteran and active military student benefits through active military student benefits through the Office of Registration and Records. Students eligible to receive benefits from the Veteran Benefits Administration should make certain that all records are correct before the beginning of each term of attendance. Some qualifying students may be eligible to have their entire tuition and fees covered through the Post-911 GI Bill.

Learn more about SAU's Military Discount.