Cooper Ray Oljeski ’25: Music, Medicine and More

Davidson College music scholarship student Cooper Ray Oljeski '25 holds guitar on patio with firepit

First-year student Cooper Ray Oljeski ’25 graduated from the Durham School of the Arts and won Davidson’s music department’s largest scholarship, the Donald Plott Music Scholarship—a recognition that will allow Oljeski to continue his passion for music in the college’s orchestra and through private lessons.

He also is the recipient of the J. Estes Millner Scholarship.

He originally heard about Davidson from friends, and after an initial search on courses and clubs, Oljeski and his family visited campus. He loved the green landscape and the various art pieces displayed across campus.

Oljeski is best known as a talented bassoonist, and although he is partial to the instrument, he also plays piano, flute, saxophone, bass, ukulele and guitar.

“My specialty is being diverse in my musical interests, instead of being a prodigy at one,” he said.

Oljeski’s first instrument was the piano, but in 6th grade, had to choose another instrument in order to participate in the school band. He originally chose the flute, but was asked to switch to french horn, oboe or bassoon to diversify the number of students playing each instrument. Oljeski has since continued to fine tune his skills as a bassoon player.

"Music has also taught me how to listen better, both musically and personally."

Like many Davidson students, Oljeski will be deeply involved in the Music Department while pursuing other interests as well. He plans to follow the premed track and major in biology or neuroscience, perhaps with a minor in music. He sees himself becoming a doctor and is interested specifically in radiology.

The overlap in his interests is deep and varied.

“I feel that music helps people be group-oriented,” Oljeski said. “There is probably some sort of connection between having a stem-oriented personality and ways of thinking to being able to read music well and pick up music well. Music has also taught me how to listen better, both musically and personally.”

When interviewed at the start of the fall semester, Oljeski was looking forward to getting to know his roommate, joining a few clubs and learning more about campus traditions. More than anything, though, he was excited to be out on his own as a new Wildcat.


  • September 29, 2021


  • Erin Papakostas ’23