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.


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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

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.