Scott Metelko ’88 is a storyteller. He has told stories through song, through theatre, and through the design and construction of magnificent sets (examples below) for all sorts of companies and all sorts of programs. He has done work in television, film, and theme parks—all over the world. Now, he and his wife, Marilee Emerson, are making a commitment through a planned gift to the College to help generations of Austin College students discover their own stories. The endowment gift will benefit the theatre program for design and construction of sets and scenery for student productions.
Marilee graduated from the University of Florida but is happy to make this investment in Austin College. “Since I’ve been with Scott, I’ve been a part of the Austin College family; I’ve been involved in alumni productions; I know a lot of alumni and consider them friends; I love Austin College,” she said. “My alma mater is a massive institution, and I give to it every year. But this gift allows us to be really focused in our giving; we felt like we could have more impact at Austin College.”
Scott, who was a music major at Austin College, was involved in theatre—on stage and behind the scenes—from his first semester on campus, including summer theatre programs at Mo-Ranch. “A lot of what I do professionally came from what I learned from Andy Williams ’74 (long-time technical director of Ida Green Theatre) and in the theatre department.”
Scott and Marilee have no children and, like many people still in their prime, hadn’t given much thought to an estate plan until the death of Marilee’s dad a few years ago. “That was a catalyst for us; everyone should have a plan, and our minds kept coming back to Austin College. I really wanted to do something for the theatre department at Austin College,” he said, adding that the plans were finalized last year.
Scott knows that a little bit of money can go a long way in theatre in an educational setting since all the labor is done by students. He’s been that free labor on many occasions. After Austin College, he began a master’s degree at Florida State in theatrical design but didn’t finish as a business opportunity came his way. Since then, he’s had his own business in set and lighting design.
Now, he and Marilee are telling stories just a little differently. His company, AST Exhibits, has moved in the last few years into museum setups. Marilee, who had a career in special education for 25 years, is now working at AST Exhibits as a client navigator and helps facilitate design meetings. Scott is designing exhibit spaces and telling stories. “The unique thing that drew me to the museum world, besides the fact that you have more time and resources to do things, is that museum exhibits, when done well, are an exercise in storytelling. Every exhibit is different and the important thing is finding the story and finding the best way to tell it.”
“I’m happy to share the news of our gift because it’s not something we talk about with friends, but I know there are a lot of alumni who don’t have family obligations to fulfill with estate plans,” Scott said. “If we can steer more people to make a gift to the College, we are happy to do that. For us, this is a really good use of our estate.”
A motto of Scott’s company is “No story left untold.” The story of this couple’s impact on the lives of future Austin College students is just beginning.
To discuss an estate plan to benefit future generations, contact Suzanne Crouch, CFRE, executive director of development and estate planning at 903.813.2059. All who make legacy gifts are members of the John D. and Sara Bernice Moseley Covenant Society.