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$1 Million Gift from Marriott Family to Create Endowed Professor Fund in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts

Marriott gift provides Meadows flexibility to use funds as needed in support of professorship focused on any key academic area

A new gift of $1 million will create the Marriott Family Endowed Professor Fund in Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. SMU parents John W. Marriott III and his wife, Angela C. Marriott, as well as John’s father, J. Willard Marriott Jr., and his wife, Donna Garff Marriott, supported the gift, which was provided through the Marriott Fund of The Columbus Foundation in Columbus, Ohio.

The Marriott gift provides Meadows School of the Arts the flexibility to use the funds as needed in support of a professorship focused on any key academic area.

“We are deeply grateful to the Marriott family for their vision and generosity,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This gift will enable Meadows School of the Arts to strengthen and broaden its academic offerings to prepare students for success in the arts. The gift supports a goal of SMU’s Second Century Campaign to endow 100 faculty positions and brings the current total to 85.”

Meadows School of the Arts offers undergraduate and graduate programs through specialized areas of the performing arts, visual arts and communications. The school also provides enrichment opportunities for students from other disciplines to explore and appreciate the arts as part of their education.

“The Marriott Family Endowed Professor Fund gives Meadows School of the Arts the flexibility to identify and pursue a strategic priority in its curriculum,” said SMU Provost Paul W. Ludden. “It will help the school to meet changing needs for arts education and enable students to enhance their creative talents.”

The Meadows School consists of 10 academic divisions: Temerlin Advertising Institute, Art, Art History, Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, Communication Studies, Dance, Film and Media Arts, Journalism, Music and Theatre. The Meadows School challenges students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between arts entrepreneurship and social change.

“Meadows School of the Arts aspires to become the national leader in a new form of arts education that measures itself not by the number of celebrities produced, but by the number of working artists who serve their communities and earn their living in the arts,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen.

John W. Marriott III is vice chairman of the board of Marriott International, Inc., and CEO of JWM Family Enterprises, L.P., a private partnership that develops and owns hotels worldwide. Before assuming his current position in 2005, he served in several positions with Marriott International, Inc., over the past 30 years. He was named in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Japanese government to co-chair a special task force to promote travel between the United States and Japan. In 2004 Business Travel News named him one of the most influential executives. He serves as chairman of the board of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and as a director of the board of the Washington Airports Task Force.

John and Angela Marriott, who live in Maryland, are members of SMU’s Parent Leadership Council. They have three daughters who are past or current SMU students. Nicole earned a B.A. degree in advertising with minors in English and Italian from SMU in 2010. Elyse is a current SMU student majoring in advertising and who will graduate in 2013. Michelle, a current SMU sophomore, will declare a major at the end of the fall semester.

“Our three daughters have benefited from the outstanding education they received through Meadows School of the Arts, and we want to help provide similar opportunities for future students,” said John W. Marriott III. “Instead of designating a specific division of the arts for our gift, Angie and I decided to give the Meadows School the freedom to use this fund to support a professorship in whatever field seems most appropriate to strengthen the school and enrich the educational experience of its students.”

J. Willard Marriott Jr. is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., a leading lodging company with more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries and territories. He served as CEO and Chairman of the Board for 40 years, before stepping down on March 31, 2012. He serves on the Board of Trustees of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council and as a member of the National Business Council.

The Marriott family gift of $1 million counts toward the $750 million goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised more than $631 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

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