Dean Sally Frost Mason said the gift by Mohammed "Mark" Amin of Los Angeles will establish the Mark Amin Scholarship Fund for students in the KU Department of Theatre and Film.
Preference will be given to students of Iranian descent. Amin was born in Rafsanjan, Iran, in 1950 and lived there until he was sent to the United States for his undergraduate education.
Amin earned a bachelor's degree in economics from KU in 1972. After leaving KU, Amin graduated from the John B. Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles with a master of business administration degree in marketing.
"Mark's work in film is a tribute to his native talents and to the background provided to him by KU," said Frost Mason. "His generous support is greatly appreciated and will benefit deserving students who aspire to follow in his footsteps. Words cannot adequately express the appreciation that we in the College and the Department of Theatre and Film have for Mark Amin's accomplishments and generosity."
Amin's company, Trimark Holdings Inc., is the parent company of Trimark Pictures, including its home video division, Vidmark Entertainment; of Trimark Television; and of Trimark Interactive, which produces computer games. Trimark has annual sales of more than $60 million and is a publicly traded company. Amin has been profiled in Forbes magazine.
Amin founded 20/20 Video, a video specialty store in Los Angeles in 1981. The company grew into city's largest video specialty chain. Amin sold his interest in 20/20 video in 1987. From 1975 until 1981, he was an international sales representative for Western Gear Corp. in Lynwood, Calif. He also has been involved in the real estate business, the international trading of petrochemicals, the pistachio-nut commodity business and one-hour photo processing.
Amin said his experience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU helped him succeed.
"A liberal arts degree gives you a broad perspective, a sense of ethics and morality, hopefully, and a good base of general knowledge which can be applied in any field. The older I get, the more I appreciate the value of a liberal arts education. It gave me thinking tools."
Amin's gift will be administered by the KU Endowment Association, an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management foundation for the university. Founded in 1891, the association is the oldest foundation of its type at a public university in the United States and one of the largest.
Story by Diane Silver