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Former Students Honor Legacy of Longtime Teacher of Martial Arts

Students are able to apply to new Marion Taylor Endowment Fund to support a variety of research and academic projects integrating mind, body and spirit

During his almost four decades at Hampshire, Marion Taylor taught martial arts in a way that embraced the College’s interdisciplinary academic philosophy. His impact here is now celebrated through the Marion Taylor Endowment Fund.

Marion Taylor
Marion Taylor

The fund was established by Robert Lemelson ‘79F and other former students. Taylor passed away in November 2014, and the endowment was officially made available to students on the first anniversary of his death. Its purpose is to support work that embraces Taylor’s ways of integrating mind, body, and spirit, and enabling the instruction and integration of the practice of different forms of the martial arts within an interdisciplinary context. 

“Marion was the epitome of the Hampshire approach—deeply committed to both his art and his students, broadly ranging in his practice, and a profound instructor,” says Lemelson. “As a person, Marion was highly demanding and strict but at the same time mischievous and fun. I’m sure he’ll be greatly missed by the thousands of students whose lives he touched.”

Outdoor Programs, Recreation, and Athletics Director Brad King says students are able to apply for funding to support a variety of research and academic projects, such as Division II and III work, using it to cover the cost of symposia, demonstrations, and conference attendance; to bring scholars and visiting martial arts practitioners to campus; and to develop film or lecture series. Students can apply here.

“The fund really helps Hampshire continue Marion’s approach to integrating the martial arts and academics,” says King.

Samuel Kanner ’03F succeeded Taylor in teaching Hampshire’s martial arts courses. A beginner Shotokan course that he participated in with the man who would become his mentor introduced him to the practice, and the two quickly developed a close friendship. Shotokan and other martial arts became central in Kanner’s life (in 2013 he was named the Shotokan Member of the Year, and they also directly influenced his illustration work and other studies at Hampshire).

“Everything I teach and talk about with students was inspired by and taught to me by Marion and his peers,” says Kanner. “I hope this fund represents a chance for students to have opportunities similar to the ones Marion presented to me.”

That’s a feeling echoed by many others who were mentored by Taylor.

“Marion was extremely influential to hundreds of people,” says former student Nate Zinsser ’74F. Zinsser was among a group of students who, years after graduating, would join Taylor for an annual three-day summer training session. “He was the glue that held so many of us together. I really cut my teeth as a karate student with Marion. I’m now passing on what he gave to me.”

To learn more about the Marion Taylor Endowment Fund, visit https://www.hampshire.edu/giving/marion-taylor-martial-arts-endowment. For additional information or to support the fund, please contact Clay Ballantine, in Hampshire’s Advancement Office, at cballantine@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5647.

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