Sam and Marilyn Fox, who have donated time and money to a wide range of community and civic groups that touch the lives of many St. Louisans, have been recognized for their extraordinary generosity and leadership with the 2004 Jane and Whitney Harris Saint Louis Community Service Award.
The award, established in 1999 by Whitney and the late Jane Harris, recognizes a St. Louis husband-and-wife duo which is dedicated to improving the St. Louis region. The $25,000 prize that accompanies the award is designated for an organization of the couple’s choosing.
The University is charged with administering the award program. Lou Fusz, president and chief executive officer of Lou Fusz Automotive Network, chairs the award committee.
“St. Louis is fortunate to have a large number of generous citizens, but even in this environment, Sam and Marilyn Fox stand out for their generosity,” Fusz said. “The committee recognized that their support is much more than financial, but also includes the invaluable gifts of time, effort and desire to make this a better place to live and to work.”
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton presented the award to the Foxes in a Feb. 16 ceremony at Harbison House. Whitney Harris and his wife, the former Anna Galakatos, attended.
During the presentation, Wrighton noted how deserving the Foxes are of the award.
“St. Louis owes a great debt to Marilyn and Sam for their long-standing generosity and for their many years of devoted leadership and service,” Wrighton said. “And Washington University is fortunate to be among the many local institutions benefiting from their contributions to the community.
“Sam is one of our most dedicated alumni and one of our most ardent supporters,” Wrighton continued. “As chair of the public phase of the Campaign for Washington University, he has guided what is already the most successful fund-raising effort in our history, and he and Marilyn have led by example, personally supporting a wide range of programs and initiatives here.”
At the University, the Foxes have supported the School of Art, the Olin School of Business, the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the School of Medicine’s Chromalloy American Kidney Center, Edison Theatre and the Danforth Scholars Program. They are members of The Danforth Circle of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.
Sam Fox, a native of Desloge, Mo., moved to St. Louis to attend the University. After graduating in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, he co-founded Fox Industries Inc. with his brother.
In 1976, he founded Harbour Group Ltd., a highly successful, privately owned company that specializes in the acquisition and development of manufacturing firms for long-term investment.
Fox was elected a University trustee in 1989. He served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees from 1999 until 2001, when he was elected emeritus. He is a member of the business school’s national council.
In 2002, the University named a $56.8 million center for the visual arts and design the Sam Fox Arts Center in recognition of his support of it and his special relationship with the University. The groundbreaking for the center’s two new buildings will be April 14.
In addition to his support for the University, Fox has brought extraordinary leadership to organizations and causes in St. Louis. He serves or has served on the boards of many institutions, including the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Civic Progress, The Muny in Forest Park, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the St. Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Zoo.
He is chairman of the Fox Family Foundation, vice president of the Board of Commissioners of the Saint Louis Art Museum, and just completed his tenure as head of the successful 2003 United Way of Greater St. Louis Campaign. He is a former chairman of the St. Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and now serves as vice president of its executive board.
Like her husband, Marilyn Fox has devoted her energies to causes dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents of the St. Louis community and beyond. She has taken a role in organizations ranging from the Girl Scouts, United Way, Variety Club and the Missouri Botanical Garden to the Jewish Federation and the National Conference of Community and Justice.
She is a past president of the Jewish Community Center and chaired its successful campaign for its facility in Chesterfield, Mo. She has served in leadership roles for United Way and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and she is a trustee of Webster University.
Importantly, the Foxes have passed on their commitment to improving the quality of life in their community to their five children and support a number of organizations through their family foundation.
The Foxes have received many honors for their extraordinary commitment to the St. Louis community. Sam Fox received the Missouri Historical Society’s 2001 Thomas Jefferson Award, the St. Louis Variety Club’s 2002 Man of the Year award and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s 2003 Citizen of the Year award.
From the University, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986, the Olin School’s Distinguished Business Alumni Award in 1988 and an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2002.
His contributions to business also are numerous. In 2002, he received the Marco Polo Award from the People’s Republic of China for his company’s economic and humanitarian contributions to that country.
In 2003, he was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, a national honor given to executives who, by their examples and their business practices, have shown deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line.
He has also received the Sigma Alpha Mu Achievement Award, the Missouri Republican Party Spirit of Enterprise Award, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year award, the St. Louis Master Entrepreneur of the Year award and the St. Louis Business Journal’s Enterprise Award.
Outstanding honors for Marilyn Fox include the Woman of Achievement Award and the Jewish Federation’s highest award, the Magen Ami “Star of My People Award.”
She was named Variety Club’s Woman of the Year in 1996, and two years later the National Conference of Community and Justice recognized her with its Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award.
The Foxes have each received honorary doctor of public service degrees from Saint Louis University, and earlier this year they shared the Arts and Education Council’s Excellence in Philanthropy Award.
Past recipients of the Harris award are: Lucy and the late Stanley Lopata, who designated their gift for Habitat for Humanity; Alice and the late Leigh Gerdine, whose gift went to the St. Louis Black Repertory Company; Ann and Lee Liberman, who gave their prize to Forest Park Forever; and Elizabeth and William H. Danforth, whose gift went to The Women’s Society of Washington University.
The Foxes have asked that their prize go to support the Sam Fox Arts Center.