The UNC School of Media and Journalism will be renamed following a $25 million gift from Walter and Ben Hussman, the school announced Tuesday.
The new name is the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. According to an email from the school, Walter Hussman Jr. and his family own 10 daily papers along with magazines and cable television companies in six states.
The gift will consist of $25 million in endowed funds — the largest single gift ever made to the school since it was launched as a department in 1924.
“The Hussman family’s stalwart belief in the future of journalism, its critical role in a democratic society — and our school as a guardian of its foundational values — is both a signal and calling to remain grounded in principles as we innovate, invent and lead the way through the challenges of this era,” Susan King, dean of the media and journalism school, said in a statement.
The Hussman School will join Kenan-Flagler Business School, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Adams School of Dentistry as the fifth named school at UNC.
Hussman Jr. has worked in media and journalism since graduating from UNC in 1968. He is the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee, and is the chairperson of Little Rock, Arkansas-based WEHCO Media Inc.
He was honored by the NC Media and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2014. After graduating from UNC, he received his MBA from Columbia University in 1970.
Hussman Jr. said in a statement he hopes his investment will help train future journalists and restore faith in media at a time when 62 percent of Americans think news coverage is biased, according to a 2018 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey.
“I believe that by adopting these core values, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s journalism school can be the leader and serve as an example for other journalism schools in America to follow," he said in a statement. "This is a key reason why we enthusiastically support the school and the University. This is a first, but important step, in renewing the public’s trust in our profession and the news media.”
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