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Margot Haliday Knight ('74)

President and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida

Photo: Margot Haliday Knight

When Americans for the Arts, the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, presented Margot with the 2007 Michael Newton Award, they cited her "combination of business and fundraising acumen together with her tremendous empathy for artists and cultural organizations." The award recognizes exemplary leadership skills and extraordinary dedication to supporting the arts through a united arts fund. Margot has been a dynamic force in championing Central Florida's arts and cultural community with dramatic results — since 1989, United Arts of Central Florida has invested over $91 million in the area's cultural organizations and education. She has proven particularly adept at showcasing arts in a different light, allowing community leaders to see, not just the cultural, but also the positive economic impact that the arts have in a region. In addition to her tireless work helping her local community participate in and enjoy the arts, she finds time to give back to Madison. She's a member of JMU's Alumni Board of Directors and currently serves as treasurer.

"I had a rough go of it in high school. I came to Madison looking for a place to belong. In a heartbeat I had a cozy room, a role in a play and most importantly, friends — many lifelong. JMU welcomed me then, and it welcomes me now."