Robert and Lucille Kinniard were lovers of the fine arts, particularly
opera and classical music, and The University of Southern Mississippi's
College of the Arts is a major beneficiary of that mutual passion.
Hattiesburg couple, through their estate, has donated $181,843 to
the university for establishment of the Robert N. Kinniard Jr. and
Lucille Ehlers Kinniard Memorial Endowment. Income from the endowment
will fund presentations by visiting professional performers, artists
and scholars in the arts college.
through private gifts such as this one by the Kinniards that the
university is able to provide an extra margin of excellence for
the benefit of our students," said Southern Miss President
Shelby Thames. "This endowment will greatly enhance the outstanding
and nationally recognized educational and cultural offerings of
our College of the Arts. We thank the Kinniard family for their
Arts Dean Mary
Ann Stringer noted the college "has a long tradition of presenting
a broad range of distinguished guest artists such as Wynton Marsalis,
Ballet Florida and the New Orleans Glass Exhibit.
is committed to presenting artists who will contribute to the education
of our students and to the life of our community," she added.
"This significant gift will help ensure the continuation of
these residencies and performances. We are grateful to the Kinniard
Southern Miss associate vice president for development, said,"The
Kinniards attended many of the events in the College of the Arts
and were impressed with the quality of the performances. They wanted
to show their appreciation for the enjoyment they received, so they
included in their estate plans an endowment to benefit the college.
Even though they did not attend the university, they felt very close,
especially through the music produced and the guests who performed
who died Feb. 19, 2002, at the age of 90, was born in Des Moines,
Iowa, in 1911, but his family moved to Jackson, Miss., in 1920.
He met Lucille Ehlers, who was a librarian, at Millsaps College
and they subsequently were married in Hattiesburg, the home of Lucille's
with U.S. forces in Belgium during World War II, Kinniard and his
wife settled in the New York City area, where Kinniard worked as
a chemical engineer for the Mobil Oil Corporation for many years.
They moved back to Hattiesburg following his retirement in 1971.
an avid reader of the classics, and a devotee of opera and symphony
music. He donated more than 2,000 classical music records to Southern
Miss's School of Music.
was a lover of the fine arts, especially opera, and particularly
the performances of Joan Sutherland. She also collected Lucille
Parker drawings, which she later donated to Hattiesburg's William
Carey College. She preceded her husband in death