Pro Bene Meritis 2013
The Pro Bene Meritis Award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. First granted in 1984, it is given each spring to alumni, faculty and friends of the college who are committed to the liberal arts, have made outstanding contributions in professional or philanthropic pursuits or have participated in service related to the college.
Marion Mark has dedicated her life to teaching and the advancement of liberal arts education, having taught students at every grade level. During her husband’s tenure as UT System Chancellor, Marion led the effort to enhance the connection between the university and the community by hosting a variety of programs and events at the Bauer House, including the promotion and advancement of several liberal arts programs.
Full name: Marion Mark, B.S. ’52 and M.A. Education ’53, Boston University; Ed.D. George Washington University
Hometown: Hayward, Calif.
Define “teacher”: Someone who helps the kids. Who gives them a feeling of appreciation of themselves. I think that all teachers really care about the kids and helping them. Their success is our success.
A sailor of the world, bound for all ports: My family and I have sailed in Sweden and in the Fiji Islands. We sailed up to Canada. On Sundays we sailed on the San Francisco Bay. The Fiji Island trip was pretty amazing. We sailed among sharks and I had glasses that enabled me to see through the water. We met with the Fijians on different islands and appreciated their capabilities. I met a wonderful teacher. We wrote to each other and exchanged gifts. I would send her fabrics and she would send me things.
Education as a mutually enriching experience: I learned so much from my students—really valuable things I think that would have been hard to learn otherwise. What I learned from my students is that everybody has special qualities. And everybody knows something or can do something that you cannot do. For example, a bookcase was once delivered in pieces to my classroom. I thought, “Oh my goodness! It’s going to take me the rest of my life to put this together.” One of the boys eagerly asked me if I would like him to do it for me. He just looked at the picture and did it. So whatever your educational level is, you needn’t feel superior to other people, because everybody is superior to you in one way or another.
More than words: Reading develops your vocabulary and gives you an acquaintance with ways to express your feelings and your ideas through other people’s writing. Then you have that vocabulary and that ability to express your interests and most importantly your feelings about these matters. I think that’s an important thing. People who don’t have that developmental background have the feelings but don’t know how to express them in words.
Dream job: I would be a doctor. Or an artist—a painter. But there again, painting is an expression of feelings. And being an M.D. is a way of helping people psychologically as well as physically. It’s all connected. But I’m glad I taught because I learned so much.