Ellen Jane Hover ’74 Memorial Scholarship Honors Alum’s Dreams
While a student at Arcadia, accomplished pianist Ellen Jane Hover ’74 was usually found in the Castle practicing Beethoven. A hardworking student, she touched the lives of everyone she knew. That’s why 33 years after her tragic death, a group of her friends has established a scholarship in her honor.
Contributing friend Anita Sobel Feinberg ’74 says, “Ellen was the sweetest, kindest, most sincere person I’d ever met. Everyone who knew her loved her. She had many friends from home, from camp, from every place she went. She was also beautiful, in a most understated way.” Hover’s roommate Holly Snyder Chiabolotti ’75 reminisces about the inconvenient floor plan of their post-graduate apartment in Glenside.
“There was no front door, so we had to walk through Ellen’s room to get to the rest of the house. This never seemed to even remotely bother her! She had a sweet disposition and never said an unkind word about anyone for as long as I knew her.”
Though Hover was a member of a prominent family that owned a popular Hollywood nightclub, she broke all of the stereotypes typically associated with heiresses. Bruce Ditnes, Hover’s former boyfriend, describes her as “extremely intelligent” and remarks, “You would never guess through casual conversation with her that her Godfathers were Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Her goal was to become the world’s first female orchestra conductor.”
Unfortunately, Hover’s dream was never realized. She disappeared on July 15, 1977, and despite a massive search of New York City, her remains weren’t found until 11 months later. There is little evidence, though it is widely suspected that she was the victim of a serial killer.
Three decades later, Feinberg, Ditnes and Chiabolotti have reconnected— with the help of Facebook—to figure out a way to honor their friend while helping current Arcadia students reach their goals. With the help of University Advancement, they established the Ellen Jane Hover ’74 Memorial Scholarship, which will benefit a student who shows exceptional talent and passion for the piano.
“It is so wonderful how Ellen’s friends are coming together after all of this time. It seems to have taken on a life of its own,” says Chiabolotti. “I would like to believe she has somehow made this happen and is smiling down on us.”
To contribute to the Ellen Jane Hover ’74 Memorial Scholarship, please contact Drusilla Buscemi at 215-572-2523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.