If it’s true that movies provide a window to the world, then St. Mary’s alumnus John L. Santikos will be opening doors with his recent gift to higher education in San Antonio. Santikos (B.B.A ’49) recently announced a gift from the John L. Santikos Foundation of $100,000 – half for St. Mary’s and half for the University of Texas at San Antonio – to provide $1,000 scholarships to deserving incoming freshmen in the coming academic year.

The Foundation gifts come as Santikos Theatres celebrates its centennial year of operating movie theatres in Texas. Foundation Chairman John Santikos, who is also CEO of Santikos Theatres, said, “A whole lot of what I have done in my life is because of my education at St. Mary’s.”

Santikos added that many of his theater employees are college students, and he hears how challenging it is for them to pay for college. “I wanted to do something for the students and I thought that the best way to contribute would be to give these scholarships.”

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 high school and have demonstrated leadership in their school and community.

“St. Mary’s 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 St. Mary’s President Charles L. Cotrell. “This generous donation will help us do that for 50 incoming freshmen this fall. With the economic reality of state and federal budgets cuts, today more than ever, donations such as this one can help fill the gap, giving students access to a transformational education such as the one Mr. Santikos experienced at St. Mary’s more than 50 years ago.”

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