At a special meeting of the faculty and staff on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, St. Mark’s announced a commitment of $10,000,000 from The Winn Family Foundation that will serve as the catalyst for a new state-of-the-art science center. Melinda and Steve Winn ’64, along with their son Chris Winn ’99, make this gift at a time when science is at the forefront of almost every human and geo-political issue. With this gift, the Winn family challenges the St. Mark’s community to dream and sets St. Mark’s on an important path toward ensuring that the School’s legacy of excellence is preserved and advanced in the areas of science, engineering, and technology.
Addressing the faculty, Steve Winn stated, ”I’ve seen what you are capable of in the past 50 years. Now, it’s time to think about the next 50 years and the 5,000 young dreamers who will delight us by graduating from this institution and change our future forever. Our faculty is the custodian of our dreamers, and I know you will do your jobs well.”
The Winn Family has more than six decades of involvement with St. Mark's. Steve served on the Board of Trustees from 1988–1994, Chris currently serves on the Alumni Board, and Melinda has been a dedicated volunteer and ardent supporter of the School for years. Eugene McDermott Headmaster David Dini said, “the Winns are a family dedicated to service and volunteerism, and we are certainly fortunate that they are a part of our family. I am deeply grateful for their generosity and leadership.”
The Winns decided that the first gift from their foundation should be directed toward St. Mark’s to recognize all that the School does to prepare future leaders and good men who will make a difference in the world. “It’s our hope as a family that everyone here understands that the building itself will be the place where the learning happens,” Chris told the faculty. “But it’s you, the teachers, who will actually inspire the boys... Our hearts go out to you, and we appreciate everything that you have done. That, more than anything, is what inspired us to make this gift.”
“This new science center will play an important role in the lives of generations of Marksmen ahead — our future leaders,” Board President Taylor Wilson ’81 told the Winns. “Your gift will provide our faculty with the resources necessary to challenge our boys to investigate, discover, and creatively explore the scientific challenges of tomorrow.”
Steve Winn remembers the impact that the St. Mark’s Planetarium, constructed in 1961, had on the city of Dallas and the role it served in making St. Mark’s a nationally prominent institution. “This is a starter grant,” Steve said. “We will need many other Marksmen to support this initiative, but together, we can keep St. Mark’s at the forefront in all disciplines of the foundational sciences.”
Click here to watch the video shown at the announcement, highlighting the sciences at St. Mark’s.