In honor of their daughter, an Alabama couple has created a $25,000 endowment for the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts, the university announced Thursday.
John and Michelle Mason, of Auburn, began the Meghan R. Mason Program Endowment because of the center’s influence on their daughter while the family lived in State College. Meghan Mason is a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota, working on a doctorate in epidemiology. She’s also an assistant professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn.
“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 experience that they otherwise might not see,” Michelle Mason said in a news release.
“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.”
John Mason, a Penn State alumnus, was the associate dean for graduate studies, research and outreach in Penn State’s College of Engineering before he took his current job as vice president of research and economic development at Auburn University.
While the Masons lived in State College, Michelle Mason worked as a biology teacher at State College Area High School and a general science teacher at Mount Nittany Middle School.
Their endowment, intended to support educational performances and special educational events at the center, will be activated in five years when it’s fully funded.