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Syracuse University to use $15 million donation for art scholarships, “immersion experiences”

Syracuse University graduates Marylyn Turner and husband, Chuck Klaus, have donated $15 million to SU’s School of Art for student scholarships and “immersion experiences” in the Los Angeles, California area. (Photo credit: Syracuse University news website)

The donation is part of a $1.5 billion campaign called Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University. It started launched in November and “seeks to build upon academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth.”

“Chuck and Marylyn have seen the potential in our Syracuse University students firsthand. Their generosity in providing an immersive experience on the West Coast and access to a network of artists, not to mention studio space and time to work, will be a game-changer for young artists’ lives and careers,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said.

Turner and Klaus, both members of the VPA Council, are “longtime” supporters of Syracuse University, the school said. In addition to creating scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Art, Turner and Klaus’ donation will endow two “immersion experiences” that they previously established: Art Week in LA and the Turner Semester.


Founded in 2010, Art Week in LA allows student artists to visit Los Angeles during Spring Break to explore art collections housed in the city’s most significant museums, as well as visit galleries and contemporary artists’ studios, including those of Syracuse University alumni. Created in 2015 as an extension of Art Week in LA, the Turner Semester allows three master of fine arts students to experience the arts of the West Coast while living and working in San Pedro, California (the Los Angeles Harbor area), during the fall or spring semester.

“A scholarship from Syracuse University gave me the chance to have a college education, and that changed my life,” Turner said. “During my time at Syracuse University, I enjoyed the arts, literature, theater and music—all things I was unable to experience growing up in a rural community. SU opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me. I’m so grateful for the experiences that I had during my student days, and it is a pleasure being able to help today’s students learn and grow during their time with us in Los Angeles.”


About Turner and Klaus

Turner grew up in upstate New York and discovered a passion for art in junior high school. She chose to study art at Syracuse University and majored in art education. After earning bachelor of fine arts and master of science degrees, she began her professional career as a junior high and high school art teacher, spending eight years teaching in public schools in New York, New Jersey and California, where she and Klaus now reside.

While raising her three sons, Turner also earned a law degree while attending night school at Northrop University in California.

Klaus is an alumnus of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, where he completed graduate coursework in media studies. He is well known in the Central New York area for his work with WCNY, where he spent the majority of his media career as a producer, announcer, and host of programs that explored vintage recordings, film and film music.

He was also a music and drama critic for the Post-Standard for 23 years, Syracuse said.


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