Marion Theresa Rucker Watkins Endowment Fund

The Marion Theresa Rucker Watkins Endowment Fund, pledged by Marion Watkins, T'96 and L'99, provides operational support for the instruction, performance, and study of ballet at the highest levels in the Duke University Dance Program.

This $50,000 gift is by far the largest ever pledged to the Dance Program, but as any true friend would, Marion wants to give back. Knowing from personal experience the difficulty in funding dance endeavors, and in particular her passion, ballet, Marion hopes to ensure certain opportunities for future Duke ballet students. If you would like to contribute to this Fund, we would be most grateful.

Marion completed her undergraduate degree in only two years, and continued in Duke Law School for three. She was a very special student in our Program, and it is therefore all the more meaningful that this gift comes from her. M'Liss Dorrance, the ballet faculty member who worked most closely with Marion in classes and performances throughout her five years at Duke, describes Marion's exquisite lyricism, her fine technique, her tremendous awareness of line and her uncanny musicality and phrasing. Marion's passion for dance was always made evident through the caring, creative, and sophisticated way in which she expressed the music. M'Liss also commented on Marion's quiet but strong leadership of the dance ensembles in rehearsal or performance. When she received her law degree, Marion was awarded the Julia Wray Award, the Dance Program's highest honor.

"Dance initially led me to Duke and guided and sustained me throughout my undergraduate and law school years. My strongest loyalties, beyond friends, will remain with the Duke Dance Program. I found that dance relieves a mind weary from memorizing facts or studying. But beyond relaxation, dance challenges the mind and body -- creating an unparalleled sense of discipline and strength. Dance not only enhances mental agility necessary to succeed in a university such as Duke, it stands alone as a unique mode of expression."

Our thanks to you, Marion, for this extraordinary gift and for the privilege of having you in our Dance Program for five wonderful years.