The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has long been one of the country’s best j-schools. Now it’s also one of the richest. Last night, Dean Nicholas Lemann announced that the program had reached its goal of raising $100 million — three years ahead of schedule. (Given the economic climate, the timing for ending a fundraiser couldn’t have been better, now could it?)
John Kluge, who graduated from Columbia College in 1937 and went on to become the country’s 32nd richest man, put the campaign over the top with a $20 million commitment as part of his $400 million gift to the school.
“I am deeply grateful for the generosity and commitment of the people and foundations who have invested in the school during a time when the profession of journalism is changing so radically,” said Dean Lemann in a statement. “This support helps to ensure that Columbia’s Journalism School will continue to set the standard in training journalists with the ethical standards, intellectual depth, innovative spirit, and exemplary reporting skills that are essential to a strong and reliable press.”
Part of the campaign will go towards the creation of the Tow Center for Internet Journalism, dedicated to improving journalism in the new media world.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM REACHES $100 MILLION MILESTONE IN SECOND CENTURY CAMPAIGN
Focus will now shift to an effort to reach unprecedented levels of scholarship aid and opening two new academic centers
New York, October 22, 2008 — Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced last night that contributions to the school’s Second Century Campaign have surpassed the $100 million goal, which was established when the campaign was launched in 2006. The fundraising campaign reached its ambitious goal three years ahead of schedule.
Donors to the campaign have focused on initiatives that significantly increase scholarship aid, attract outstanding faculty to the school, and expand the school’s capabilities in new media. The gifts have already made a dramatic impact on the school, including construction of the 8,000 square foot Toni Stabile Student Center, which had its official opening when leading donors and distinguished journalists gathered at the school for a celebratory event last evening.
The Journalism School’s dean, Nicholas Lemann, has identified three goals for the remainder of the campaign: to increase scholarship aid to an unprecedented level of 50 percent of tuition for all students; to develop a new academic center focused on the coverage of race and ethnicity; and to raise funds for the Tow Center for Internet Journalism.
The Tow Center is named for a gift made by the Tow Foundation, which will be dedicated to the research and teaching of professional journalism in new media. The center’s primary mission will be to educate the next generation of journalists with the skills and knowledge to lead the future of professional journalism online and in other forms of digital journalism.
“I am deeply grateful for the generosity and commitment of the people and foundations who have invested in the school during a time when the profession of journalism is changing so radically,” said Dean Lemann. “This support helps to ensure that Columbia’s Journalism School will continue to set the standard in training journalists with the ethical standards, intellectual depth, innovative spirit, and exemplary reporting skills that are essential to a strong and reliable press.”
Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, announced at the event that a $20 million commitment from John Kluge (Columbia College 1937) — part of Kluge’s previously announced gift to support financial aid at the University — propelled the Journalism School’s Second Century Campaign past its goal. Along with a recent gift of $4.4 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance health and science journalism, the Campaign has now reached $110 million.
At the celebratory event on Oct. 21, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, framed the challenges and opportunities facing the profession of journalism. In addition, 13 distinguished journalists and media executives served as table hosts for conversations about the changing relationship between the public and the news media, and about strategic steps that the Journalism School should take to lead the profession. The hosts included: Dean Baquet, Tom Bettag, Barbara Cochran, David Fanning, Alexis Gelber, Bill Grueskin, John Hockenberry, Michael Kinsley, Josh Micah Marshall, Victor Navasky, Anna Quindlen, Rick Stengel, and Katharine Weymouth.
Michael Pulitzer and Leo Hindery, Jr. are the co-chairs of the Second Century Campaign. Hindery, whose daughter Robin graduated from the school in 2004, stressed the importance of reaching even higher in the school’s campaign. “Columbia has long been the home of the world’s finest journalism school. To maintain that preeminence, it is vitally important that the best students are able to attend the school regardless of tuition and housing costs, that they have the best faculty, and that the facilities match up with the resources and technologies of the outside practicing journalism world.”