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St. John’s Honorary Alumna Endowed Generous Scholarship Fund
FOR RELEASE: September 27, 2010
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
A New York designer who endowed a scholarship fund for students at St. John’s College and a long-time college tutor were honored by the college during Homecoming Weekend, in Annapolis, Md. on September 25-26.
Mica Ertegun, widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, and Jon Lenkowski, who retired this year after 30 years of teaching at the college, were selected as honorary alumni by the St. John’s College Alumni Association. In honor of her late husband, Ahmet Ertegun, a 1944 graduate of the college, Mrs. Ertegun enlisted Led Zeppelin and other rock legends in a benefit concert in 2007 for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. The Fund was established to benefit four institutions, including St. John’s. The gift to the college endowment from the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which includes substantial personal contributions from Mrs. Ertegun, makes it possible for the college to offer scholarships to students in celebration of Mr. Ertegun’s Turkish heritage.
“My husband often said that the years he spent at St. John’s were the best years of his life. His assurance, his vision, the achievement of his life’s dream–he attributed much of this to the liberty of reading the classics at St. John’s. This gave him the strength to accomplish his greatest dreams,” said Mrs. Ertegun upon receiving her award from St. John’s President Christopher Nelson.
Mr. Ertegun was the son of the Turkish ambassador to the United States and a passionate believer in the value of liberal arts education. This year the Ertegun Fund has made it possible for four students to attend St. John’s College, with grants totaling more than $130,000. Mrs. Ertegun was on hand at St. John’s College as part of the college’s Homecoming celebrations, and to meet the students who received scholarships.
“Mica Ertegun is a selfless benefactor, committed to helping those with less get an education that is worthy of the best this country has to offer. We are deeply grateful and pleased to honor and thank her for her many contributions to the College and other most worthy causes,” says St. John’s President Christopher Nelson.
Romanian-born Mica Ertegun is the founder of the interior design firm, MAC II. Based in New York City MAC II has won numerous awards for interior design. At present Mrs. Ertegun is personally underwriting the building of a visitor center in Targu Jiu, Romania, on the site of the Brancusi Endless Column, a tribute to young Romanian soldiers who died fighting Germany in the First World War. She has also served on the boards of the New York City Ballet and The Archives of American Art and currently is on the boards of the World Monuments Fund and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Jon Lenkowski joined St. John’s as a tutor in 1979. He received his doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York City and was a member of the graduate faculty there before he joined the college. Pamela Kraus, the college’s dean and a long-time colleague of Mr. Lenkowski says, “St. John’s has been blessed by the benefit and the good of Jon’s years here.
He was enthusiastic and dedicated in the classroom, and utterly selfless in the care and time he took with students, helping them to hunt out the elusive paths to understanding.”
“I have had the pleasure of twice teaching with Jon Lenkowski over the years, and have learned first hand what his students and colleagues all know: that he is a generous teacher who has an ample store of wisdom to share, something he does with both grace and wit. He has contributed a great deal to the life of the college right at the heart of the program and in the classroom where it counts most,” says President Nelson.
Shown here (from l. to r.) are Ahmet Ertegun Scholarship Fund scholars from St. John’s College: Halil Ugur Kupeli, a freshman from Istanbul; Sierra Nevada Dombayci, a freshman from St. Cloud, Fla.; Mica Ertegun, founder of MAC II interior design and widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, a 1944 graduate of St. John's College, Annapolis, Md.; Cinar Doruk, a sophomore from Istanbul; and Ali Cihansin Yildiz, a freshman, from Istanbul.
Photo courtesy of St. John’s College and Pierpoint Photography.