The John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation has made gifts totaling $100,000 to St. Mary’s University and the University of Texas at San Antonio to fund scholarships for entering freshmen next fall at the two universities. The gift will fund 100 $1,000 scholarships, with half going to each institution.
The Foundation gifts come as Santikos Theatres celebrates its centennial year of operating movie theatres in Texas. The announcement was made at a ceremony in the Palladium Theatre at The Rim, one of seven Santikos cinema centers in San Antonio.
Santikos Foundation Board Chairman John Santikos (B.B.A ’49), who is also CEO of the Santikos Theatres chain of cinemas, said, “My father, Louis Santikos, came to this country from Greece and started our business in Waco in 1911. A group of San Antonio business leaders asked him to come to San Antonio in 1918 to open movie theatres here, and he did so, starting with the Rialto Theatre and then the Palace in downtown.”
“He went back to Greece to marry and I was born there,” Santikos said. “When he returned to this country after World War II, I was a teenager with almost no English, but I entered St. Mary’s University in 1947 and graduated in 1949. Education was extremely important to my father and he made sure that all three of his children earned college degrees.”
“We’ve been fortunate in building our business here and I’m very proud of the positive impact we’ve been able to have in San Antonio, with thousands of young people getting their first jobs working in our theatres and so many going on to college,” he said.
“While St. Mary’s helped give me my start, we have also worked closely with UTSA’s College of Liberal & Fine Arts over the years, and so it seemed very appropriate to make a scholarship gift to both universities in our centennial year,” Santikos said. “These are difficult times in higher education, and costs are rising, so I am hoping that these scholarships will help make the difference for 100 new freshmen next fall, 50 each at St. Mary’s and UTSA.”
The Santikos Scholarships will be awarded by each university to entering freshmen in the 2011 fall semester who have earned at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in their high school career and have established a record of leadership in their school and community.
“St. Mary’s University strives to attract the best and brightest students who will one day become ethical professionals with a dedication to excellence, a passion for service and a heart for the community,” said Dr. Charles L. Cotrell, president of St. Mary’s University. “This generous donation will help us do that for 50 deserving incoming freshmen this fall. The economic reality of state and federal budgets today means that, perhaps now more than ever, generous scholarship donations such as this one can help fill the gap, giving students access to a transformational higher education experience such as the one Mr. Santikos experienced more than 50 years ago at St. Mary’s.”
UTSA President Ricardo Romo said, “I am honored to receive this scholarship gift on behalf of UTSA, and I thank John Santikos for the tremendous generosity that will give 50 College of Liberal Arts students a ticket to higher education. Let me also add my congratulations to the Santikos family on the 100th anniversary of this landmark business in Texas. We thank you for sharing your celebration with UTSA and greatly appreciate what you have done for San Antonians.”