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Carolyn Houts

Northwest Missouri State University alumna Carolyn Houts has always had a passion for teaching and music and a sturdy faith in God. Now, after that passion led her on a life-changing music mission to Africa, Houts hopes her monetary gift will enable international students to receive the education they need to make a difference in their home countries.

Through the Northwest Foundation, Houts recently established The Carolyn Houts International Student Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to international students attending Northwest, with first preference given to students from Africa. The scholarship will be awarded to a student who exemplifies positive contributions to Northwest, through campus involvement, solid academic performance and leadership.

A 1964 Northwest graduate, Houts grew up in northwest Missouri and attended Northwest to major in music education. As a student, she was involved in several music and Christian organizations, including the Baptist Student Union where she was a pianist for the choir, the student branch of the Music Educators National Conference, the Student Christian Association and Tower Choir.

After graduating from Northwest, Houts went on to receive her master’s in music education and taught for several years before attending the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, where she earned her master’s of religious education and master’s of church music.

Upon leaving the seminary, Houts accepted an opportunity to go to Ghana in western Africa, through the Foreign Mission Board. That opportunity became a 35-year career for Houts.

“I felt God calling me to overseas service, and I first had those impressions when I was in school at Northwest,” Houts said. “So I taught school, gained experiences and reached a point where I was willing to go.”

Her first assignment in Ghana was to study the language of Twi, the county’s principal native language. After becoming fluent, she edited a Twi hymnal, and more recently she worked with interpreters to help church members make scripture songs in seven other African languages.

In 2006, Houts worked with a committee to develop a diploma in church music program through Ghana Baptist University. She led the choir, gave music lessons and taught classes.

Houts also enlisted the help of her former band director and mentor at Northwest, Ward Rounds, who maintained an instrument repair shop at his home. During her return trips to the United States, Houts often brought donated instruments for Rounds to repair and then took the refurbished instruments back to Ghana.

Although Houts returned to the United States from time to time to speak at churches about her experiences, she returned to Missouri as a full-time resident in July 2010 and lived in Grant City in northwest Missouri.

Ms. Carolyn Houts passed away in April of 2019.
Scholarships associated with Carolyn Houts
  • Carolyn Houts International Student Scholarship