Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford University's School of Engineering have jointly announced a $30 million gift from longtime Cosmopolitan magazine editor and author Helen Gurley Brown to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation.
The institute and the collaboration between the two schools are designed to encourage and support new endeavors with the potential to inform and entertain in transformative ways and recognize the increasingly important connection between journalism and technology. The institute, believed to be the first of its kind, was inspired by the memory of David Brown, who was a graduate of both universities.
Each school will receive $12 million for institute activities, including an endowed professorship at the journalism school whose holder will be the institute's East Coast director; the gift to the engineering school will endow a similar position for the West Coast. Columbia will use the remaining $6 million to help build a facility that features a state-of-the-art newsroom in the journalism school's landmark building. The funds also will be used to underwrite graduate and postgraduate fellowships, both at Stanford and Columbia, as well as competitively awarded "magic grants" intended to seed the most innovative and promising projects designed by Brown Fellows.
Collaboration between the schools will enable students to work with professors and innovators at both universities, and the institute will also work to establish links to business leaders and media companies as a way to bring its innovations to market.
"David and I have long supported and encouraged bright young people to follow their passions and to create original content," said Brown. "Great content needs useable technology. Sharing a language is where the magic happens. It's time for two great American institutions on the East and West Coasts to build a bridge."