Mark & Susan Susz secure naming rights
It may have been the time Susan Susz’s parents took her and her three siblings to Starlight to see “Sound of Music.” Or it perhaps it was her mother’s penchant for singing opera around the house — and at friends’ weddings. Or it might have been the piano lessons she took as a child. Whatever the influence, Susan Susz has become an enthusiastic arts supporter. And that commitment led to Susan and her husband Mark become donors to the Kauffman Center.
“When Mark and I married 12 years ago,” Susan shared recently, “I started engaging him in the arts activities I enjoyed. Soon, attending the theater, ballet and the symphony became activities we enjoyed regularly together.” Susan quickly added that Mark didn’t require much convincing; business interests earlier in his life just took most of his attention. Now that he’s sold his business and retired, the arts fit right in.
Mark and Susan Susz’s introduction to the Kauffman Center came through good friends Tom and Linda Beal. “We had heard bits and pieces about a new performing arts center, but no one had really filled us in,” Susan recalls.
That issue was remedied when the Beals invited them to lunch with Julia Irene Kauffman along with a small group of potential supporters. “We were immediately impressed,” Susan shared. Mark and Susan liked the idea of Kansas City getting high-quality performance spaces for the groups they enjoyed. “Plus we were wowed by the emphasis on quality. There was so much attention being placed on acoustics and technical excellence,” Susan added.
Later, Mark and Susan met with President & CEO Jane Chu and began to talk about a contribution to the center. After reviewing a range of naming opportunities available to donors, Mark and Susan decided to fund and name three items within the Kauffman Center, including a glass elevator that is set prominently in the grand gallery.
“I liked the centrality of this special elevator and its graceful design,” Mark said. “Funding the elevator also seemed to have a nice synergy with our personal interest in getting more people to arts performances.” Susan says that the location of the Kauffman Center is so prominent that people will easily find their way from the highway loop to the center. “Then the elevator will whisk them away to a delightful experience. I’m looking forward to everything about it,” she concludes.
Get more information about naming opportunities.