Campus News

December 6, 2010

Campaign Emory

Oxford alumnus makes leadership gift to science building

Oxford College alumnus Art Vinson '66Ox-'68C and his wife, Laurie

Oxford College alumnus Art Vinson '66Ox-'68C and his wife, Laurie, have made a planned gift to support the fundraising effort for a new science building on the campus. By designating Oxford as the beneficiary of a fully paid life insurance policy, the Vinsons are able to provide a leadership gift to the project.

"Art Vinson's leadership has been invaluable to Oxford over the years, and the couple's gift speaks volumes about their longstanding commitment to our students and our campus," says Dean Stephen Bowen. "We are so fortunate they are part of the Oxford community of alumni and friends."

The new building is one of Oxford's top priorities in Campaign Emory.

Buildings fall behind

Oxford is known for excellence and innovation in science education, giving freshman and sophomore students high-level research opportunities and helping Georgia educators learn new ways to teach science. Built in 1961, the school's science facilities long ago lost pace with the accomplishments of faculty and students.

"Nearly 50 percent of students who enroll in Oxford College are interested in studying science and medicine," Vinson says. "We are losing students to other universities because of the inadequacy of our lab facilities."

The proposed new building, designed by a team of architects, Oxford science faculty, and university planners, will offer multidisciplinary classrooms with the latest educational technologies, student and faculty research laboratories, a greenhouse and gardens, an astronomy observation deck, and outdoor teaching and collaborative spaces.

Emory is known nationally for its green building program, and Oxford's new science facility will be a model for sustainability. Initial plans include a roof that will promote water conservation, improve insulation, and provide gardens for teaching.

The Vinsons, who live in Atlanta, have an active interest in science and a longstanding relationship with Oxford. Art Vinson, an account executive for a high-performance information and communications technology company, Logicalis, was a biology major at Oxford and Emory.

A member of the Oxford Board of Counselors, he has been president of the Oxford Alumni Association and a volunteer for Oxford's parent and alumni recruitment networks. In 2002 he was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Laurie Vinson, who has spent her career in the health care diagnostics industry, has joined her husband in making financial gifts to Oxford for more than 25 years. All of the Vinsons' five children are Oxford alumni.

Innovative giving

The couple chose to support the construction of the new science building because they feel it holds the potential for the quickest return for Oxford's future graduates, Art Vinson said.

"One of the reasons we made this gift was to encourage our peers to explore and use innovative ways to give. Oxford alumni cherish and nourish deep affections from their tenure on campus. As they become aware of Oxford's current programs, the accomplishments of students, and the scope of scholarship exhibited here today, they feel an even greater sense of pride in their own degrees," he says.

"Now is the time for us, who feel so deeply about our Oxford experience and appreciate the overwhelming support for Oxford's programs from Emory President Jim Wagner and his cabinet, to 'get our gratitude in gear.' Laurie and I wanted to show that even though we're sending our own kids to Emory and have many other financial obligations, it is possible to endow critical programs at Oxford."

Planned giving strategies such as the Vinsons' enable donors to make significant gifts to the University without diminishing needed income. Some planned gifts even provide income and offer tax benefits. The experts in Emory's Office of Gift Planning can assist donors in creating a plan that meets both financial and philanthropic goals.

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