Gift from Matthew B. Lindner and Carl H. Lindner III Will Transform Baylor's Film and Digital Media Program
Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (May 6, 2015) – Baylor University today announced a gift of $2 million from Matthew B. Lindner and his father, Carl H. Lindner III, of Cincinnati, Ohio, to create the Matthew B. Lindner Endowment for Excellence in Film and Digital Media. The gift will help make the Film and Digital Media program, currently housed within the Department of Communication, a freestanding department within the College of Arts and Sciences, effective June 1. Matthew Lindner and his father, Carl, each gave $1 million as part of the collective gift to the University.
"The faculty members in Baylor's Film and Digital Media program provided me with the kind of well-rounded education I needed to turn a love for film into the reality of a professional career in movies," said Matthew Lindner, who earned a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from Baylor in 2012 and is a producer and investor in the independent film industry. "Words can't describe the impact Baylor had on me, and I'm very happy to give back in some way. My hope is for Baylor to one day be known as one of the best film departments in the nation."
During the past decade, Baylor's Film and Digital Media (FDM) program has established a growing reputation as a place where students with drive and talent can find their artistic voice and develop skills as storytellers. The FDM program's graduates have gone on to careers as noted writers, directors, cinematographers and producers across the country, establishing a strong link between the Baylor name and industry success.
"Baylor University is deeply grateful to Matthew Lindner and his father, Carl, for their remarkable generosity that will enable the University to transform our wonderful Film and Digital Media program into a full academic department," said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. "This powerful demonstration of Matthew's deep love and respect for the education he received at Baylor will help strengthen Baylor's ability to produce industry leaders who bring a faith-informed approach to the artistry of film-based storytelling."
Funds distributed in the coming years from the Matthew B. Lindner Endowment for Excellence in Film and Digital Media will make possible activities including the production of feature-length films under the direction of FDM faculty members and the collaboration of industry professionals in mentoring and engaging undergraduate and graduate students. Leading the department as its inaugural chair will be Chris Hansen, M.F.A., an independent filmmaker and director of the FDM program.
"The Film and Digital Media program has reached a critical mass of faculty and students that, in association with its emerging national recognition in filmmaking and technology, warrants greater visibility and branding of its discipline as a Department of Film and Digital Media in the College of Arts and Sciences," said Lee Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of geology. "We are extremely pleased that Chris Hansen, associate professor and director of Film and Digital Media, will assume the chair position of the department. All of this has been made possible by the generosity of Matthew and Carl in creating an endowment that will escalate the growth of the department."
Having joined Baylor's faculty in 2004, Hansen has served as director of the FDM program since 2009. He is an award-winning writer and director of such films as "The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah," "Where We Started" and "Blur Circle." His feature films have screened at festivals throughout the United States and Canada and have been released theatrically in Los Angeles and New York.
"During the last decade, we've been developing a dynamic Film and Digital Media program built around storytelling in all its forms, training students to be filmmakers and professionals in other areas of media production who are proficient with the latest technology and discerning with the power they have as creators of compelling narratives," Hansen said.
After completing his degree at Baylor, Matthew Lindner earned an M.F.A from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California. He serves as an independent contractor for the Cincinnati Film Commission and as a movie producer, with current projects based in locations ranging from New York to Miami. He recently was involved as a producer of the feature-length film "Jacqueline (Argentine)," which was filmed in October 2014 in Argentina and stars Camille Rutherford under the direction of Bernardo Britto.
Carl H. Lindner III is co-CEO of American Financial Group Inc., a Fortune 500 Company. Carl and his wife, Martha, are graduates of the University of Cincinnati, where they met. In addition to Matthew, they have three other children: Blake L. Thompson, Carl H. Lindner IV and Christopher D. Lindner. In 2011, Carl and Martha Lindner made a $3.6 million gift to support the Global Mission Leadership Initiative in Baylor's School of Social Work — a program dedicated to identifying and educating global Christian leaders who are God-called and mission-driven to become catalysts for holistic change in international communities.
"I am very pleased to come alongside Matthew in supporting Baylor's Film and Digital Media program as it seeks to advance the Christian values of Baylor University and make a difference in the world through film and other forms of media," Carl H. Lindner III said. "Matthew's love of Baylor, his passion for his chosen profession and his philanthropic efforts as a young man have inspired me and provide a wonderful example to the Baylor family."
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.