John and Shari Stankey Gift

Stankeys Establish Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Research and Creative Work

Sacred Heart Chapel at LMU

It’s fitting that AT&T CEO John Stankey ’85 would place emphasis on preparing students for their futures in the business world. To do so, he and his wife, Shari Stankey ’83, established a competitive faculty fellowship award focused on interdisciplinary research and creative work. The John and Shari Stankey Fellowship will rotate among tenure-line faculty for a one- or two-year fellowship for up to $50,000 a year focused on integrating students in meaningful ways.

The Stankey Fellowship is the first to have a specific interdisciplinary requirement at LMU. The inaugural award seeks to intersect journalism, media, computer science, and business, including the areas of media integrity and bias, artificial intelligence, and content creation. For John Stankey, these areas were a natural combination.

“The reality is that almost every corporation in America has become less functional in how they’re structured and operate,” he said. “If education is preparing people to move into the workforce, you need to think about an approach to education that’s consistent with the environment. Vertical integration has occurred across virtually every new and emerging business model, and so cross-discipline and interdisciplinary education becomes critical to function in this environment.”

When it comes to implementing an interdisciplinary education at LMU, Stankey’s rationale for supporting this kind of pedagogy becomes far more personal.

Students perform research in the LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering

“When you think about what LMU teaches its students, in terms of Catholic identity and what’s important about how we conduct ourselves as citizens of the world and children of Christ, teams work better when people demonstrate respect for individuals and foster an inclusive environment. There is no better place for this to occur than an institution that not only has a great ability to build and teach curriculum, but also has the backbone and moral fiber of how people should treat and respect one another.”

Stankey also felt it was important that students be involved either through participation in summer internships, research assistant positions, production assistants or in other significant ways.

“I received tremendous inspiration from great professors and experiences around learning that were formative in my life,” he said. “I certainly want this funding to go toward phenomenal interdisciplinary experiences that light that spark and makes a difference in an individual’s professional life.”

To learn more about establishing a faculty fellowship, contact Stacy Barnes, executive director of development, principal gifts, at 310.338.4549 or