Judy Duda H’19 has made an indelible impact on UCF and the College of Arts and Humanities for decades, fostering a long relationship with the UCF Symphony Orchestra and serving as the chairperson of the executive council for the dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities.
This year, Duda further demonstrated her commitment to supporting the arts with a gift that honors the memory of her husband, Colonel Howard (Bud) Weber: a generous donation to the Performing Arts Center and the establishment of a fund to help create a library of string instruments for the UCF School of Performing Arts.
Duda was inspired to create the fund for the stringed instruments in part by Chung Park, director of the UCF Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, head of string music education and assistant professor in the Department of Music. Park shared with Duda his observation that many promising students were still playing on the same string instruments they had played prior to coming to UCF — some were using instruments they had acquired in middle school.
Park’s words reminded Duda of her own music lessons in her youth, for which she was loaned a viola to play for free. She was inspired to help provide current students with the same opportunities she once had, which led her to explore the possibility of starting a fund for a library of string instruments. When she discussed the idea with her late husband, he was equally enthusiastic — and she made a gift to start the fund.
Following her husband’s passing in early 2021, Duda was inspired to revisit the fund with an additional gift as a way to honor his memory while giving back to the arts community. Weber also served as the inspiration for Duda’s generous donation to the Performing Arts Center.
Thanks to Duda’s generosity, the Performing Arts Center will continue to shine a spotlight on music, theatre and community, and students will no longer be limited by whether they can afford a new instrument to accompany them on their educational journey.
Photo: Duda, pictured at graduation with late husband Bud Weber and then Interim UCF President Thad Seymour, received her honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2019 because of her support of UCF programs through the years.