When unthinkable tragedy occurs, it is vital for those affected to seek out ways to keep their loved ones’ memories alive. Casimir Pokorny, KLN ‘15, was a vibrant young musician and producer who brought support and creativity to every community he touched. Though he passed away far too soon at the age of 26, his family has connected with Klein College of Media and Communication to keep Pokorny’s legacy alive through the Casimir Garin Pokorny Endowed Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship is intended to provide scholarships to students with financial need who plan to enroll in Klein College of Media and Communication’s new Audio and Live Entertainment major or who plan to study audio and music production and business, ranging from podcast to sound recording and live entertainment.
The endowed scholarship will be given to four qualified students each academic year for a maximum of four years and will benefit students for years to come. Casimir Pokorny came from a family that was very much Temple Made – his paternal grandparents met at the university, his mother earned her master’s in special education here, and many of his aunts and uncles are alumni as well. However, Pokorny didn’t start at Temple University; instead, he transferred from West Chester University during his sophomore year, during which time he was not so sure about his life’s direction.
His mother, Gail Garin, said it hadn’t occurred to her son that his hobby and passion for music production could in fact be his career until he arrived at Temple. “Living in North Philly and being in that program, he was immediately focused and excited, and he wound up graduating with honors,” she said. “Instantly, he was just a different, new person when he went to Temple.”
During his time here Pokorny took numerous classes in media production and spent a summer session studying abroad in India. After graduating from Temple, Pokorny went on to work for Creative Outfit, a company started by a friend who he met when he was twelve years old. Through this job and other media-creating opportunities, Pokorny traveled to both Paris Fashion Week and Burning Man.
“In a way, he had a bit of a charmed life for a little bit after school,” Garin said.
Because Pokorny died so young, it was important for his family to carry on his passionate, youthful spirit for music and media. “I know it sounds cliché, but he had a real passion for it,” said Director of the Audio and Live Entertainment Major Jack Klotz, who had Pokorny as a student. “For anybody who is going to be a success in this business, it has to be more than what you do; it has to be who you are. And for him, it really was. He lived the craft.”
Klotz also noted that a scholarship to study the music business is particularly important for its potential recipients because traditionally, the culture that births new music is not a culture of affluence.
“Kids coming up in an affluent environment have almost nothing but distractions. But if you don’t have those means, you find ways to entertain yourself. And that’s where the new music comes from, always,” he said. “The reason a scholarship, in this case, is important is because it goes to those folks, folks from those communities.”
This idea is something Pokorny would likely be proud of today. Because her son was always one to give back to the community, whether it was teaching underserved children camera skills or helping out a friend in need, Garin knows that paying the joys of music forward would be exactly what Pokorny would want.
“He was always sharing music,” she said. “It keeps him alive.”