USC 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:
- The endowment of the Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair in Strategic Public Relations and Business Communication to support a transformational interdisciplinary scholar to provide academic and research leadership focused on the intersection of communication and business.
- The creation of a science and technology fellowship for USC Annenberg Master’s of Specialized Journalism students, supported by a gift from Thomas Campbell Jackson and Penny Jackson.
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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