Dallas, Texas, residents Charles Nearburg and Dana Nearburg became involved with MICA through their son, Rett, who was a student here when he lost an 11-and-a-half-year battle with Ewing's Sarcoma in January 2005. Their $2.6 million gift created the Rett Nearburg '07 Endowed Scholarship, for students interested in interactive media and other electronic arts disciplines. The gift also provided unrestricted endowment support for the College and established an operating endowment for the Gateway--MICA's student life, performance, studio, and residential facility.
Following Rett's diagnosis of Ewing's Sarcoma cancer, Charles and Dana have each devoted substantial time and resources in support of Ewing's Sarcoma Cancer research at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, and the Pediatric Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, and were instrumental in establishing the Rett Nearburg International Ewing's Sarcoma Research Symposium.
Charles joined MICA's Board of Trustees in October 2006. He is the president/owner of Nearburg Producing Company, a leading oil and gas independent producer, as well as a professional racecar driver. Charles set a new world record when the "Spirit of Rett", his 35-foot long single engine Streamliner (pictured above), became the first single engine car to break the 400mph barrier at the SCTA World Finals at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2009.
Charles is also a mentor to the student-run Dartmouth Formula Racing Team at his alma mater, where he double-majored in art and engineering.
Dana, an architect and artist, has served on the resident's Board of Advisors of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.
Of Rett's experience at MICA, Charles says, "When Rett was visiting colleges, MICA really stood out. The student art on campus made it clear that MICA focuses on helping each student develop to his or her fullest in his or her own way-and that's rare. Each student's work was of high quality, and every piece revealed an individual vision."
"In art, as in about every area of human endeavor-engineering, math, physics, chemistry-boundaries among disciplines are being crossed at a rate that's growing exponentially. Interdisciplinary work is the thing that will move us forward to new levels of achievement. MICA is clearly in the lead in embracing the interdisciplinary nature of art and the intersection of art and technology. Rett chose MICA because it's a great place for students who are exploring the intersections of digital media with film, with traditional paint mediums, and sculpture. But even beyond Rett's experience there, MICA is an important institution in the teaching of art, and a place of great cultural activity and excellence."
"Giving to MICA was a simple decision: because of Rett, and how happy he was to be there. My continuing involvement with the College grows out of the belief that MICA will have an important impact on the education of artists in the future."
The family maintains a Web site created by Rett at www.rett.org.