Masons create $25,000 endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- John M. Mason Jr. and Michelle R. Mason, of Auburn, Alabama, have created The Meghan R. Mason Program Endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts. The $25,000 endowment is named in honor of their daughter because of the role the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State played in her life while the family lived in State College.

“The Penn State community is still very dear to us. The Center for the Performing Arts provides a space for families to experience performances of national and international caliber, exposing children to artistic excellence that they otherwise might not see,” Michelle Mason said. “Being able to introduce Meghan to a wide-range of performing art forms throughout her childhood instilled her with a lifelong appreciation and curiosity for the arts. We wanted to ensure, in some small way, that such a great community asset would continue for other Penn State families to enjoy.”

George Trudeau, director of the Center for the Performing Arts, applauded the Masons’ long-time commitment to the performing arts at Penn State.

“John and Michelle have continued to be perhaps our most long-distance supporters, maintaining their membership at the Center for the Performing Arts over the years since relocating to Alabama,” Trudeau said. “I am thrilled with the establishment of their endowment, ensuring that programs that have been meaningful for their family will have support in the future.”

John Mason, a Penn State alumnus, is vice president of research and economic development at Auburn University and president of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. Prior to joining Auburn University, he was the associate dean for graduate studies, research and outreach in Penn State’s College of Engineering. While the family lived in State College, Michelle Mason was a biology teacher at State College Area High School and a general science teacher at Mt. Nittany Middle School. The Masons, who recently purchased property in State College, said they plan to spend more time visiting Centre County.

Meghan Mason is working on a doctorate in epidemiology and is a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. She is also an assistant professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at University Park in 2006. Her years attending events at the Center for the Performing Arts continue to influence her decisions, she said.

“I certainly feel as though the Center for the Performing Arts has made me feel at home teaching public health at a liberal arts institution,” she said. “I continue to appreciate and attend the robust performing arts programming that exists in (St. Paul and Minneapolis).”

Barbara Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, stressed the endowment will impact future generations.

“The Masons raised their daughter to appreciate the performing arts,” Korner said. “Their endowment will help the Center for the Performing Arts to continue to provide opportunities for both children and adults to experience the finest national and international theater, music and dance presentations.”

The Mason endowment will be activated when it is fully funded in five years. The $25,000 program endowment will provide support to educational performances and special educational events hosted by the Center for the Performing Arts. Other donors or organizations are welcome to make contributions to the endowment.  

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Last Updated August 11, 2014