USC Annenberg reaches $100 million fundraising milestone

Annenberg Milestone Infographic.ashxUSC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism announced today that its fundraising initiative has quickly surpassed $100 million since launching in fall 2012, with approximately $50 million currently remaining toward the $150-million goal.  USC Annenberg’s fundraising initiative is part of the broader Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multi-year effort to raise $6 billion to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand the university’s positive impact on the community and world.

Aimed at investing in generations of students and scholars exploring and developing the digital future, the initiative is raising money to enhance the visionary new Wallis Annenberg Hall with labs, studios, technology and to provide student scholarships and fellowships; chaired professorships and funding for new initiatives led by students and faculty.

The gift that pushed the fundraising past the $100 million mark came from the family of USC Annenberg alumnus Tim Novoselski (’73), who died last summer. The bequest, made by his wife Denise (’72), honors Tim’s memory by endowing a scholarship for undergraduate journalism students.

“Tim received a scholarship that enabled him to attend USC,” said Denise, who met her husband while both were working at the student newspaper, the Daily Trojan. “That scholarship gave him a life that he otherwise would never have had.”

Over the years, Denise and Tim partnered in various publishing ventures, from the McCall Star News in Idaho to Special Events magazine based in Malibu.“ We learned that the quality of journalism is paramount, whether in business or consumer news publishing,” Denise said. “Shortly after Tim died, I was considering bequests and I thought it was important to give another young person an opportunity like Tim had. Helping those who want to go into journalism is critically important.”

She added: “Tim never would have envisioned that he would be memorialized with an endowment to USC that was to become so significant. He would have been immensely proud to know that he’d helped to achieve that $100 million milestone.”

In making the contribution, Denise joined more than 3,000 other USC Annenberg donors who have supported the initiative. Of these donors, 88% made gifts of less than $1,000 and for many these were their first gifts to USC Annenberg. The initiative is already having an impact, supporting the construction of the technologically transformative, state-of-the-art building set to open in fall 2014, student aid, as well as USC Annenberg’s academic priorities. (View a fly-through video of Wallis Annenberg Hall; visit the project construction blog.)

Once completed, Wallis Annenberg Hall will enhance USC Annenberg’s role as a leader of a new era of digital media communication and education. Wallis Annenberg Hall, with five floors and 88,000 square feet and located on the University Park campus, will be a physical manifestation of USC Annenberg’s dedication to collaboration and experimentation.

“I would like to thank each and every one of you who has shown our school such generosity,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “The outpouring of support, from more than three thousand sources, is a tribute to the extraordinary work being done by our students, alumni, faculty and staff.”

Added Wilson: “We still have so much important work to do to reach our goal. Every gift counts.”

Planning for the building was initiated by a $50 million lead gift from the Annenberg Foundation at the direction of Wallis Annenberg, who is also the foundation’s president and CEO. The new construction will supplement the school’s current operations in its existing building, which was recently declared a Historic-Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles City Council.

Individuals such as Annenberg alumni Jacki Wells Cisneros and Corii and Cari Berg have made pledges and selected their recognition within the new building. Cisneros, a Mega Millions lottery winner and former assignment desk editor at KCBS and KNBC, will aptly name the assignment desk, the hub of the converged newsroom and media center. While, Berg, an executive at Sony Pictures Television, chose to name an open meeting area designed so that students can effectively collaborate on assignments.  There remain additional naming opportunities in the new building.

Since its inception, the initiative has also generated funds for the likes of:

However, to fully equip the new facility, as well as fund student aid and sustain faculty research and special initiatives, USC Annenberg still needs to raise $50 million. With the initiative two-thirds of the way toward completion, there remains time to support USC Annenberg with a donation.

For Denise, the bequest she made to honor her husband is just the beginning of her Annenberg giving. “I would like to ask friends and family to donate to the scholarship annually on the anniversary of Tim’s death, and then I would match the funds, to help future students,” she said.  “I believe that it’s critical to tell stories about the human condition, the political system, world events and we need trained professionals to do that; we need journalism students who know how to report the news impartially. And I really felt strongly that I needed to earmark the scholarship to someone who felt the same way about pursuing journalism as a career as my husband Tim.”

 

About the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is a national leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of more than 2,200 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school’s comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university in a global urban environment.

 

Invest in the future of USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Give now.

Hufschmids’ $3 million gift to endow strategic PR chair

Hans and Jayne Hufschmid pose with Dean Ernest J. Wilson III at USC Annenberg's 2013 Commencement ceremony.

Hans and Jayne Hufschmid with Dean Wilson at USC Annenberg’s 2013 Commencement ceremony.

USC Annenberg has received a $3 million gift from Jayne and Hans Hufschmid to endow the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair in Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication. The couple’s gift will enable USC Annenberg to attract a transformational interdisciplinary scholar to provide academic and research leadership focusing on the intersection of communication and business.The holder of the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair in Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication, yet to be selected, will be an expert on the rapid convergence that is taking place among the various communications disciplines, new models of articulating the “corporate message,” and the relevance of these new conditions for small and large businesses alike.

Reflecting USC’s commitment to collaboration across multiple areas of study, this faculty leader will work closely with top-ranked faculty colleagues at both USC Annenberg and the USC Marshall School of Business to build on existing partnerships and create new programs that explore, inform and strengthen the critical connections among communication, public relations and business in the corporate environment.

“USC faculty create outstanding scholarship in areas that reflect the realities of modern society, which often means that long-established disciplines and professions will converge in complex and meaningful new ways,” said USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett. “The Hufschmids’ generous support for this endowed chair provides USC the opportunity to recruit a renowned scholar studying how message creation and distribution in the 21st century can help institutions become more successful.”

“I’m thrilled and inspired by the generosity and the visionary leadership that Jayne and Hans Hufschmid have shown,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “This endowed chair exemplifies the issues that I’ve been committed to since becoming Dean and allows our school to become an even greater world leader in communications, business strategy and public relations.”

Both of the Hufschmids are graduates of USC. Mrs. Hufschmid earned a bachelor of arts in 1975 and received a Masters in Public Relations from USC in 1980. Mr. Hufschmid earned a bachelor of science in business administration from USC Marshall in 1983.

Hans Hufschmid co-founded GlobeOp Financial Services in 2000 and was former chair and CEO of the company. Prior to that, he was a principal at Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) and co-head of its London office for five year. Mrs. Hufschmid is an independent public relations and communications professional.

“Our USC university experience was integral to our professional careers,” said Mrs. Hufschmid. “For many years, Hans and I spoke about making a gift that reflected both of our interests and backgrounds in strategic PR and business. It is exciting to know that the chair is now in place and that the work will soon begin.”

The couple met while Mrs. Hufschmid studied abroad with the USC Annenberg International Communications Studies (ICS) program. Today she sits on the alumni steering committee for the program.

The Hufschmids have been long time supporters of USC, and their previous gifts include support for the creation of the USC Annenberg Bill Faith Scholarship Endowment, as well as a $300,000 gift to endow the USC Trojans football team kicker position. Their latest contribution is part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world.

Public Relations Program

Ushering in a new era of digital media communication, USC Annenberg breaks ground for a new building

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism heralded its role as a leader of a new era of digital media communication and education with the Nov. 8 groundbreaking for a visionary new building and the launch of a $150 million fundraising drive.

Wallis Annenberg Hall, with five floors and 88,000 square feet, is set to open in Fall 2014 and will be a physical manifestation of USC Annenberg’s dedication to transparency, collaboration and experimentation, Dean Ernest J. Wilson III told an audience of about 250 faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the school who gathered for the ceremony.

Already, the school is home to “all the disciplines and professional training students need for today’s digitally converged environment,” Wilson said, including journalism, public relations, communication, communication management and public diplomacy.

“Wallis Annenberg Hall is the incarnation of this ‘Annenberg advantage.’ All of the spaces have been carefully designed to be connectors and not containers, to be inviting and transparent and to encourage those passing by the building to enter, to experiment, collaborate, innovate and learn,” Wilson said.

Besides a 20,000-square-foot digitally converged newsroom, the building will feature an ultramodern interior with a four-story atrium, a rooftop skylight and a multistory digital media tower showcasing student programming along with social media and live broadcast news. The atrium itself is designed to encourage informal conversation and impromptu gatherings as well as formal events. All over the building, faculty and students will be able to work together in different kinds of spaces — “drop-in” student collaboration areas, multi-purpose rooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, open study areas, labs and a laptop lounge. (See a fly-through video of the new building here.)

At the groundbreaking ceremony, the Trojan Marching Band heralded the arrival of USC dignitaries, who gathered with the audience under a tent erected atop the construction site on the west side of the Pertusati Bookstore. Cardinal and gold confetti rained down on spectators, who cheered as USC President C.L. Max Nikias, USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett, Dean Wilson, Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube and KCAL 9 news anchor (and USC Annenberg alumna) Sylvia Lopez grabbed their ceremonial shovels and posed for a photograph to mark the occasion.

Nikias hailed the extraordinary generosity of Wallis Annenberg, whose foundation’s donation of $50 million will make the building possible. He cited her as the “dean” of USC’s Board of Trustees, the longest serving member and one who “has provided strong leadership and wise counsel for more than four decades.”

“It is her tremendous passion for journalism that brings us here today. When it’s completed, Wallis Annenberg Hall will be a gorgeous building. It will be a landmark building. It will be an island of beauty on this campus,” Nikias said.

And inside its walls, the work of developing and leading a new media age will soon be underway, he said.

“We are here today in the early stages of a digital media revolution, a moment when traditional concepts of journalism and news-telling are often overwhelmed by a constant stream of information,” said Nikias, whose daughter Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from USC Annenberg in May 2011.

Wallis Annenberg has long recognized that journalists must have a deep knowledge of new digital technologies, he said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to have the new building, to house our journalism programs and provide state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment that will allow them to experiment, learn and succeed.”

The converged newsroom will tear down the silos that separate broadcast, print and web journalism. Its content management system will allow students to share and publish from multiple sources to any medium. The nucleus of the operation is a 360-degree assignment desk that will run the day-to-day work of USC Annenberg’s student news organizations. Student journalists will seamlessly share audio and video on multiple platforms, and even the studios in the newsroom will be multipurpose. A television studio with multiple sets will operate alongside a separate radio studio equipped with broadcast-quality cameras so that radio programming can be used online or on TV as well. A third studio, designed for vodcast, will allow students to stream professional-quality audio and video directly to the web.

Public relations students will take advantage of the newsroom’s resources, as the profession is increasingly driven by digital video and social media tools.

All of Wallis Annenberg Hall will feature up-to-the-minute technology that is scalable and flexible as new innovations become available. The building will be loaded with full WiFi and 4g wireless capacity, including at least 110 hotspots and no dead zones. Digital monitors throughout the building will stream student programming and instruction material in classrooms.

Beyond delivering content that will accelerate students’ future careers, the building will fulfill a larger vision that is dear to Wallis Annenberg, Nikias said: “To promote journalism that leads to an informed public, which is central to the health and function of a democratic society.”

Sylvia Lopez, and Emmy award-winning journalist who anchors KCAL 9’s newscast at 4 and 9 p.m., attested to the quality of her own USC Annenberg education and that of her fellow alumni – whom she’s seen succeed in her own newsroom as well as other broadcast, print and digital newsrooms across the country.

“This new building will allow our students to develop and refine those skills in ways many of us never could have imagined,” she said. “But at the same time, it represents everything Annenberg has always stood for. Students here will continue to learn the very essential things I learned here many years ago – how to write and craft a story, how to be a consummate communicator.”

The pace of change in digital news and communication has been far-reaching and overwhelming, said Leonard Aube, director of the Annenberg Foundation. So much so, he said, that “educators might be forgiven for just wanting to curl up in a ball and wait for the revolution to sort itself out.” The crowd laughed as he continued: “But under the leadership of Dean Wilson, USC Annenberg is not waiting and it’s not curling. It’s innovating.”

He praised the philosophy of innovation and collaboration that is driving plans for the new building.

“In a world where the biggest changes come from the bottom up and not the top down, it makes no sense to limit education to a series of expert lectures,” Aube said.

The work of the school embodies the goals of the Annenberg Foundation, which looks to fund ideas that will forge paths and be a model for other philanthropies, he said.

“We at the Annenberg Foundation couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with USC Annenberg. Together we can move past the old paradigms and change the way we train communications for a fast-changing profession. Together we can help create a society that’s better informed, more deeply engaged and more vitally connected to the world around us.”

The School’s $150 million fundraising initiative will help build out the new facility as well as earmark a $30 million endowment for student scholarships, including need- and merit-based scholarships, graduate fellowships, internships and residencies and study-abroad stipends. Administrators will also set aside $30 million for an endowment for faculty, research and teaching – including chairs and professorships and research centers. Finally, $20 million will go toward innovation and start-up funding, changes in flexible technologies and interdisciplinary projects and collaborations.

The initiative is part of the broader Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multi-year effort to raise $6 billion for the university’s academic, community and capital priorities.

For more information about the Campaign for the University of Southern California, visit http://campaign.usc.edu/. For more information about Wallis Annenberg Hall and USC Annenberg’s fundraising drive, visit http://wallisannenberghall.uscannenberg.org/.

USC Annenberg to break ground on new building, launch $150 million fundraising drive

Wallis Annenberg Hall

Rendering of Wallis Annenberg Hall (Northwest view)

USC Annenberg is ushering in a new era of digital media education, communication and production with the groundbreaking of a visionary new building and the launch of a $150 million fundraising initiative.

On Nov. 8, 2012, the University of Southern California will welcome trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of USC Annenberg to campus for a ceremony marking the beginning of the initiative, which will invest in new generations of students and scholars exploring and developing the digital future.

Funds raised will pay for capital projects to enhance Wallis Annenberg Hall – labs, studios and technology – as well as student scholarships, fellowships, chaired professorships and funding for start-ups led by students and faculty. The initiative is part of the broader Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multi-year effort to raise $6 billion for the university’s academic, community and capital priorities.

“Wallis Annenberg stands among USC’s most generous and steadfast supporters, as well as the university’s longest serving trustee,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias.  “As journalism continues to evolve, her landmark gift will help keep USC on the field’s cutting-edge, while ensuring that our students have access to world-class facilities.”

Plans for the new 88,000-square-foot, five-floor building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, call for a technologically transformative jewel in the center of USC’s campus. Designs were drawn to reflect the transparency and collaboration that drives USC Annenberg’s educational philosophy. (See a fly-through video of the new building here.)

“USC Annenberg is widely recognized as a world leader in journalism and communication,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “This new facility, and the initiative, will enable us to expand our innovative teaching, research and service, and spark a new era of creativity among our faculty and students in this new digital age.”

Beyond the university’s iconic Gothic flourishes on the exterior, the ultramodern interior will feature a four-story atrium with a rooftop skylight and multistory digital media tower showcasing student programming along with online social media and live broadcast news. The atrium itself is designed to encourage informal conversation and gatherings as well as formal events. Leaders envision the space as an area for the USC community to convene and share ideas with guest lecturers, faculty and students.

At the heart of the building will be a fully converged, 20,000-square-foot newsroom, looking onto Childs Way, that will tear down the silos that now separate broadcast, print and web journalism. A state-of-the-art content management system will allow students to share and publish from multiple sources to any medium, enabling students to embrace and lead the new era of digital journalism. The transparency and collaborative energy will power students’ choices as they build the foundations of their future careers.

The nucleus of the operation is a 360-degree assignment desk that will run the day-to-day work of USC Annenberg’s student news organizations. While still operating independently, the news organizations – and solo student journalists – will have the ability to seamlessly share audio and video on multiple platforms from a single newsroom. A media halo of digital screens above the assignment desk will provide a live stream of breaking news, along with online news and RSS feeds.

Studios in the newsroom will be multipurpose. A television studio with multiple sets, including anchor desks and a green screen, will operate alongside a separate radio studio equipped with broadcast-quality cameras so that radio programming can be used online or on TV as well. A third studio, designed for vodcast, will allow students to stream professional-quality audio and video directly to the web.

Beyond the newsroom, all of Wallis Annenberg Hall will feature up-to-the-minute technology that is scalable and flexible as new innovations become available. The building will be loaded with full WiFi and 4g wireless capacity, including at least 110 hotspots and no dead zones. There will be more than a thousand Ethernet connection points.

Digital monitors throughout the building will stream student programming and instruction material in classrooms.

The philosophies of sharing and collaboration permeate every space in the building. A central media database, unique for an academic environment, will encourage sharing and analysis by communication and journalism faculty, students and scholars, no matter where they are.

Faculty and students will be able to work together in all kinds of physical spaces – multi-purpose rooms, classrooms, meeting rooms, open study areas, a laptop lounge and computer lab, and research and learning labs. Eleven “drop-in” student collaboration areas will foster impromptu meetings and conversations. There will be a full-service café and an auditorium seating 160.

“As we move further into the 21st century, it is clear that the education of journalists will require a facility unlike any that now exists,” said Wallis Annenberg, chairman of the board of the Annenberg Foundation. “This building will give talented students and faculty the opportunity to experiment with emerging tools and invent journalism and communication models for the digital future. The future of journalism will be shaped at USC.”

Planning for the building was initiated by a $50 million lead gift from the Annenberg Foundation at the direction of Wallis Annenberg, who is also the foundation’s president and CEO. Besides being the longest serving trustee on USC’s Board of Trustees, she has been a lifelong advocate for the essential role journalism plays in enriching society and sustaining democracy. The Annenberg Foundation and the Annenberg family have contributed a total of $350 million to USC, beginning with Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg, who founded USC Annenberg in 1971.

The new construction, on the west side of Pertusati Bookstore, will supplement the school’s current operations in its existing building on Watt Way.

The School’s $150 million fundraising initiative will help build out the new facility as well as earmark a $30 million endowment for student scholarships, including need- and merit-based scholarships, graduate fellowships, internships and residencies and study-abroad stipends. Administrators will also set aside $30 million for an endowment for faculty, research and teaching – including chairs and professorships and research centers. Finally, $20 million will go toward innovation and start-up funding, changes in flexible technologies and interdisciplinary projects and collaborations.

For more information about the Campaign for the University of Southern California, visit http://campaign.usc.edu/. For more information about USC Annenberg, visit http://annenberg.usc.edu/.

Communication by Design: The story behind Wallis Annenberg Hall

Newsroom

Rendering of the Newsroom. Directly adjacent to the forum, the two-story professional multimedia newsroom brings USC Annenberg’s print, broadcast and online student news outlets into one common space for the first time.

A whole new way to communicate is under development at USC Annenberg, in the form of an 88,000-squarefoot, five-story building in the heart of campus with a design that connects people, fosters creativity and accelerates the school’s path into the future.

As media and communication shift more and more to the center of modern life, we have continuously worked to place ourselves at the center of that shift,” says Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “This new facility will help us realize our ambition: Just as communication is at the center of modern life, USC Annenberg is at the center of communication and journalism—and at the center of campus!”

“We took Dean Wilson’s directive to heart,” says lead architect Dan Benjamin of the firm Harley Ellis Devereaux. “He wanted the building to be designed with space that connects rather than contains.”

The new facility’s learning spaces will include a blend of unique “huddle” spaces, movable walls, learning and research labs, and other features to foster future-oriented conversations and blue-sky thinking. Flexible furniture and meeting areas, drop-in space for visitors, and state-of-the-art production studios will create environments to turn these plans into action.

“In the spirit of the culture of innovation and experimentation, we’ll have spaces that are more conducive to random interactions and cross-fertilization, rather than having things separating off,” says Vice Dean Larry Gross, director of the School of Communication and one of the key members of the project team. “We’ve been trying for a village square kind of environment.” The core of the vision was prompted by Wallis Annenberg, whose long-standing commitment to openness, transparency and technology defined the spirit of the design. Equipped with today’s most revolutionary technology, the new facility also will help the school adapt to a pace of technological innovation that seems to have permanently shifted into overdrive.

Relief for a crowded learning environment

The current home of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, designed by noted architect A. Quincy Jones and built for $3 million in the 1970s, was intended to accommodate only 100 graduate students. With a focus on collaboration and open discussion, the school grew organically, establishing new areas of scholarly inquiry and developing a unique combination of educational opportunities.

Along the way, the student population grew to 2,200 graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in world-renowned communication, journalism, public relations and public diplomacy programs.

Renovations to the existing building have attempted to keep up with the pace of change, but can no longer do so.

“The original building was built before the personal computer was invented, and certainly before the integration of information technologies into everything we do,” explains Gross. “The fields of communication and journalism are at the high end of engagement with technology, so this changes things.

“At the simplest level, we’re out of space,” Gross continues. “We don’t have room for the faculty, for the research projects, for the activities. … We’re bursting at the seams. We have to expand, and we’ve taken this opportunity to build from the ground up.”

Converging factors of design

In preparing for the expansion, USC Annenberg turned to DEGW, an international planning and programming company that has helped innovative firms such as Google and Nokia determine how to create dynamic new space. DEGW held a series of workshops and interviews with USC Annenberg faculty, staff and students to assess what was—and was not—working in the existing building. They found that despite the school’s focus on collaboration and community involvement, portions of the current facility actually stifle interaction.

DEGW translated their findings into a set of guiding themes: Innovation, Versatility, Collaboration and Transparency. With this direction, the architects at HED took over, designing the new building’s centerpiece as a ground-level public forum—a meeting place and common area modeled on the ancient Greek assembly places known as “agora.” For inspiration, the project team visited a variety of similar spaces around the country, including MIT’s Media Lab, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, the Kennedy Forum at Harvard University and studios at Bloomberg News and Politico.

“The atrium connects all floors of the building, and then we have some walls within the atrium that are emphasized to make a connection between floors,” Benjamin says. “Vertical and horizontal surfaces connect in a way where visitors will be asking, ‘Is that part of the wall or part of the ceiling?’ We’re really responding to the idea that spaces connect.”

All-in-one media center

Directly adjacent to the Forum, the architects have placed a cutting-edge, collaborative multimedia newsroom, bringing USC Annenberg’s print, broadcast and online student news outlets into one common space for the first time. It will be centered around a converged assignment desk where editors will monitor multiple sources to produce the day’s news. A state-of-the-art broadcast studio, professional-quality control room, and suites of editing bays and flexible production spaces round out the media center.

“What we’re realizing as time moves on is everybody—not just the journalism students, but our PR, communication and public diplomacy students too—is using more and more technology and multiple platforms, and more and more social networks, in their academic work and in their professional work,” says Geneva Overholser, director of the School of Journalism.

“It’s very visible from Childs Way,” she continues about the news lab windows, which will look out onto the sidewalk of a primary campus thoroughfare, next door to the University Bookstore. “So it’s going to have the same feel as some of the TV studios in New York City. People walking to the student center will be able to see into the assignment desk, with all of our media labs together for the first time—it’s really going to be exciting.”

A 21st-century media school Beyond the first floor, Benjamin and his team devised a careful layering of intimate and public spaces that stimulate blending of people and ideas.

“There are open spaces that are always in concert with the more individualized spaces,” Benjamin says. “For example, you may be entering an office through an open work area, or entering the classrooms through the atrium.”

Mobile furniture pieces and rooms with movable boundaries also will create new pathways to inspire fresh thinking.

Taking a cue from the physical, the school’s virtual infrastructure will be equally open and flexible. A state-of-the-art media storage and distribution network will allow students to collaborate in new ways, blend interactive media and instantly share their stories with the world.

A move toward gothic

Given that the facility will be constructed on prime real estate at a key campus intersection, Benjamin and his colleagues have been working to maintain the traditional “vocabulary” of the campus, blending elements of Romanesque and neo-Gothic architecture to create a new signature look for the campus.

As for melding this structure with its much more contemporary contents, “We are trying to emphasize the verticality of the main interior space—the Forum—because Gothic buildings emphasize verticality,” says Benjamin. “Gothic started out as religious architecture, with the intention of raising your eyes to the sky.”

Apart from the building’s ability to encourage attention upward, the architectural interplay between the exterior’s evocation of the past and the interior’s focus on the future is especially appropriate for the study of communication and journalism, Dean Wilson says. “We hear from many sources—our peers, our external partners, our broader community—that it’s important to preserve the traditional values of integrity, ethics, responsible journalism and scholarly analysis while we stretch our work in innovative, interdisciplinary, unpredictable ways,” he says. “This building serves as a physical embodiment of those dual imperatives.”

Groundbreaking scheduled

On Nov. 8, 2012, USC will welcome trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of USC Annenberg to campus for a ceremony marking the beginning of the initiative. Funds raised will pay for capital projects to enhance Wallis Annenberg Hall – labs, studios and technology – as well as student scholarships, fellowships, chaired professorships and funding for start-ups led by students and faculty.

Plans for the new 88,000-square-foot, five-floor building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, call for a four-story atrium with a rooftop skylight and multistory digital media tower and a fully converged, 20,000-square-foot newsroom that will allow students to share and publish from multiple sources to any medium. Television, radio and direct-to-Web vodcast studios will each be multipurpose and allow publishing to multiple platforms.

Join us at 11 a.m. at the new building site, on the west side of Pertusati Bookstore on Childs Way, as we celebrate the groundbreaking. An all-school lunch will follow, set in Founders Park.

RSVP (code: AnnenbergLunch)
USC map (type “Parking Lot 5″ for exact location)

Alumna Jacki Wells Cisneros establishes $1 million endowed scholarship

Alumna and donor Jacki Wells Cisneros

When alumna Jacki Wells Cisneros and her husband, Gilbert Cisneros, won the Mega Millions lottery in 2010, they vowed to give back to their church and alma maters. They have followed through with that pledge by establishing the $1 million Wells Cisneros Scholarship at USC Annenberg, which will be given to promising students who have been admitted to one of the School’s undergraduate programs.

“We are extremely proud and grateful that a member of the USC Annenberg family has chosen to give back to her School in such an impactful way,” Dean Ernest J. Wilson III said. “The scholarships will help us tremendously in our ongoing efforts toward greater ethnic diversity in our classrooms. Jacki and Gilbert are touching the lives of unending future generations of Trojans through their philanthropy.”

Gilbert and Jacki CisnerosAward recipients must demonstrate strong interest in the field of journalism, communication, public relations or public diplomacy. Extra consideration will be given to students who are of Latin-American descent, from the state of California and who have a demonstrated financial need. The $25,000 scholarship is renewable each year, provided that the students achieve standards set by the faculty and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

“Gilbert and I both really value education,” Wells Cisneros said. “Latino students have a lower graduation rate in college, and we feel it’s often because of financial reasons. We want to allow them to take finances out of the equation so they can get the education they desire.”

The couple also hopes to extend their generosity beyond financial aid to the students—they want to be mentors as well.

“It’s not about, ‘Hey, here’s some money,'” she said. “We’ve been in the situations these students will be in and want to be here for them. We can share our experiences, knowledge and hopefully help them make good life decisions.”

Cisneros added that his wife would be an especially helpful resource to a student interested in broadcast journalism because she has years of experience in the field. She is a long-time newswoman who finished her shift at NBC even after finding out that she and her husband won the $266 million jackpot.

“I can’t imagine not working,” she said. “It’s a foreign concept to me. I’m too young to retire.”

The first Wells Cisneros Scholarship was first awarded to a student entering in the 2011-12 academic year, and another recipient will be added the following year. Because the Wells Cisneros Scholarship is endowed, the USC Annenberg School will be able to have two recipients on a permanent basis.

“Meeting that first student will be so cool,” Wells Cisneros said. “I’m excited to watch him or her grow and develop. Being able to fund scholarships like these really make us feel like we’re making a real difference.”

The Cisneroses have also made financial contributions to numerous other institutions, including The George Washington University (Gilbert’s alma mater), the California Chicano News Media Association, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, St. Hillary Church in Pico Rivera and the Newman Catholic Student Center at GW.