Greek life organizations have a long history of incorporating philanthropic work into their missions. That certainly was the case this March, when 13 sororities of the Panhellenic Council at Syracuse University banded together to raise more than $5,700 for people…
Marylyn Turner ’56, G’57 and Chuck Klaus G’05 Give $15 Million to Support Art Scholarships, Immersion Experiences at Syracuse University
A $15 million gift from Marylyn Turner ’56, G’57 and her husband, Chuck Klaus G’05, will support the education of emerging artists in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Art through scholarships and immersion experiences in the Los Angeles area. The gift is part of a historic $1.5 billion campaign—Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University, which 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,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud.
Turner and Klaus, both members of the VPA Council, are longtime supporters of Syracuse University. In addition to creating scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Art, Turner and Klaus’ gift will endow two immersion experiences 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,” says Turner. “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.”
“Marylyn and Chuck’s generous gift to the School of Art is transformational,” says VPA Dean Michael S. Tick. “Scholarship support is critical to attracting the most talented and promising young artists, as are opportunities to study in Los Angeles, which boasts a thriving arts community. I cannot overstate how much we value Marylyn and Chuck’s commitment to our students as they prepare for successful careers in the professional art world.”
Turner and Klaus are actively involved in both the Turner Semester and Art Week in LA. They provide a residence in San Pedro for Turner Semester students known as “the Turner House,” as well as lease studio space at the Angels Gate Cultural Center, and they attend the students’ exhibitions. During Art Week in LA, they often accompany the students on their visits to museums, galleries and artists’ studios. “We enjoy meeting with the students, learning about their work and seeing their reaction to art on the West Coast,” notes Turner.
For the students, the experiences offer many benefits that are key to an artist’s success.
“It has been great to be in direct contact with so many different people and artists who all have such varying experiences here in LA and with such different perspectives and connections to the art community,” says Brett Morgan G’21. “Marylyn and Chuck’s generosity and unwavering support has had such a positive impact on my experience and practice here.”
“The Turner Semester provided me an uninterrupted and meaningful time to create work in a beautiful location with a lot of support,” says Taro Takizawa G’17, an artist who also teaches in the School of Art. “It is a rare experience to have such an incredible opportunity.”
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 1980, Turner established the Grand House Management Company, channeling her creativity into redeveloping and transforming properties in San Pedro. These include the Whale & Ale, a British pub, and the Grand Emporium, which features vintage vinyl, film and books, and is operated by Klaus. Her leadership as an entrepreneur in California was recognized in 1989 when she received an Outstanding Businesswoman’s Award at the Governor’s Conference for Women. Other awards and commendations have come from the California Legislature, Senate, U.S.A.F. Space Division, Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and City Council, as well as various community organizations.
Klaus is an alumnus of the 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.
Turner and Klaus’ many local philanthropic and civic engagement activities include support of Palos Verdes Performing Arts, the Palos Verdes Art Center and the Museum of Latin American Art. In VPA, they have also generously supported the Dean’s Fund and the All-Steinway campaign in the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music.
In 2014, Turner received the Melvin A. Eggers Senior Alumni Award from Syracuse University for demonstrated loyalty and service.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors closes the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.
About Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University
Syracuse University’s powerful network is Forever Orange. Fueled by 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can harness our momentum to build upon academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. We owe it to the next generation of inquirers, innovators, dreamers and entrepreneurs. Forever Orange will engage thousands of supporters. Whether you already know and love Syracuse University or are just discovering how you can fuel our bold aspirations and game-changing initiatives, you are Forever Orange. Syracuse is and will remain a unique blend of innovation and tradition, of heightened expectations and reduced barriers, of innovative research and meaningful service by and for our students, our faculty, our community and the world. For more information, visit foreverorange.syr.edu.