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$1 Million Gift to Support Faculty Enhancement at MU

Gift to help College of Arts and Science in attracting and retaining elite faculty

March 13th, 2015

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mark Wilkins, a resident of St. Louis, has given $1 million to the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science to create the Mark A. Wilkins Fund for Excellence in the College of Arts and Science. The Wilkins Fund will support the MU College of Arts and Science through faculty enhancement that will enable the College and University to create opportunities to recruit and retain prominent faculty. Wilkins, an MU alumnus and graduate of the College of Arts and Science, says he wants to help give current and future MU students access to quality faculty members such as he enjoyed as a student at Mizzou.

“During my time at Mizzou, I enjoyed tremendous faculty who taught me how to think and how to be better,” Wilkins said. “I want all MU students to experience that during their education at Mizzou. Further, in order to truly be a world-class university, every stakeholder must commit to being bigger and better. My hope is that this gift will motivate others, including MU faculty, staff, students, leaders and alumni, to strive for bigger and better things at Mizzou.”

“This gift is a testament not only to Mr. Wilkins’ generosity, but to the excellent faculty MU has benefitted from and the significant role they have played, and continue to play, in educating and preparing students,” said Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “This gift will allow the College to bolster our already existing base of excellent faculty by attracting and retaining the very best and brightest minds in the country.”

Support for the College of Arts and Science from the Wilkins fund may include, but is not limited to, the funding of faculty salary stipends, staff support, teaching materials, and research and travel expenses related to the presentation of research and educational projects.

“Gifts like this one are vital to the mission of this university,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said. “Mr. Wilkins’ generosity will allow MU to attract and retain the highest caliber teachers and researchers for decades to come. High-quality faculty are essential to our central mission of educating our students and keeping MU competitive among the nation’s top institutions of higher education; Mr. Wilkins’ gift will go a long way toward elevating the University among our peers.”

Mark Wilkins graduated from MU in 1990 with a degree in political science. Currently, Wilkins works as a private wealth adviser for Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group. As a student at MU, Wilkins served as a cadet battalion commander in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. After graduation, Wilkins served in the U.S. Army before joining Merrill Lynch. Wilkins remains involved with MU as an active member of the MU College of Arts and Science Strategic Development Board.