BYU says goodbye to major benefactor and friend Mary Lou Fulton

Mark A. Philbrick
Mary Lou Fulton poses for portrait in her Provo Home. Fulton died on Thursday, Oct.1 at age 82.

Mary Lou Fulton, generous supporter and friend to Brigham Young University, died on Thursday, Oct. 1. One of the original members of the BYU President’s Leadership Council, she was 82.

Mary Lou and her husband, Ira A. Fulton, are among the greatest benefactors to BYU. The College of Engineering and Technology is named for Ira A. Fulton and BYU’s supercomputer facility is named in honor of Mary Lou.

The Fultons have also generously endowed four chairs in Mary Lou’s name at BYU, greatly blessing the lives of many students and faculty alike.

“Mary Lou Fulton profoundly and positively impacted education at BYU and at numerous other institutions of higher education throughout the nation,” said BYU President Kevin J Worthen. “Just as impressive was her love and support for Ira, and his for her. Their example of both generosity and love will forever benefit students at BYU.  We express our deepest condolences to Ira and their family.”

The Fultons have been exceptionally generous supporters to BYU since before the turn of the century. The Arizona natives developed a mutually rewarding relationship with the university after visiting campus in the late 90s and feeling a kinship with faculty and students.

“Students at BYU are learning their crafts so well, and they’re in such wonderful company,” Mary Lou said in 2004. “When these students leave the university and go into the world, I could almost promise them what they have to offer is going to be accepted beautifully.”

The Fulton’s generous giving has touched and benefited literally every college and department on BYU’s campus. Some examples include the Joseph F. Smith Building, the BYU Athletic Complex, the BYU Broadcasting Building, the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni & Visitors Center and the yet-to-be-built engineering building.

“Mary Lou was a dear friend to BYU and an extraordinary individual. She treated everyone as though they were her dearest friend and had an infectious enthusiasm for life,” said Curt Swenson, director of BYU LDS Philanthropies. “She especially loved being with our students and celebrating their successes.  Side by side with her sweetheart, Ira, she has impacted literally thousands of lives through her generosity and caring.”

While Mary Lou Fulton will be greatly missed, her influence, love and support will continue to live on at BYU and bless the lives of many individuals for generations to come.

The Fultons are also the single largest donors to Arizona State University and have given away an estimated $265 million, roughly 60 percent of their accumulated net worth, to institutions including ASU and BYU, the Arizona Republic reported.

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