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$10 million gift from Sam Fox to Washington University
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$10 million gift from Sam Fox to Washington University

A full-tuition fellowship program for graduate candidates at Washington University’s Graduate School of Art and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design is permanently endowed, thanks to a big gift from a local family foundation.

The Sam and Marilyn Fox Foundation has pledged $10 million to endow the Sam Fox Ambassadors Graduate Fellowship Program. The program was established in December 2019 with a $1.05 million gift from the foundation.

The Sam Fox Ambassadors fellowships provide full-tuition waivers for 10 graduate candidates a year. The program’s inaugural cohort was named in fall 2020. Those who receive the fellowships demonstrate “exceptional potential for advanced studies and creative research in their discipline,” according to the program’s website. All applicants to WashU’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts are considered for the Ambassadors fellowships.

Recipients also are given an annual $750 travel stipend for individual research or school-sponsored travel. The tuition waiver and stipend are renewed annually for those holding the fellowships in good standing.

“Art, architecture and design are uniquely powerful forces,” Sam Fox, a 1951 alumnus of WashU’s business school, said Friday in a statement. “They have the power not only to reshape the world, but also to enlighten us, to enrich us and to expand our own sense of what is possible. Marilyn and I hope that these fellowships will enable talented and creative students to continue charting new paths for generations to come.”

Sam Fox, a lifetime voting member of WashU’s board of trustees, in 1976 founded family-owned Harbour Group, a $1.3 billion holding company that buys manufacturing, distribution and specialty services companies. From 2007 to 2009, he served as U.S. ambassador to Belgium. He has served on boards of organizations including the Saint Louis Art Museum’s board of commissioners, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and others.

Photo: Sam Fox School at Washington University in St. Louis. Inset: Philanthropist Sam Fox with Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence founder Gabriel Erem

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