Sumner Redstone Awards $2.5 Million in Support of Narrative Studies

Boston University has announced a $2.5 million gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation to encourage the production and appreciation of narrative storytelling.

The gift to the College of Communication will endow the Sumner M. Redstone Professorship in Narrative Studies and support a senior faculty member who will teach courses about the importance of storytelling in communicating ideas, produce original narrative works and scholarly studies, and convene practitioners in the field.

"Storytelling in both entertainment and journalism has always been an integral focus of my business life through Viacom and CBS," said Redstone, who is chairman of both companies. "I am so proud to help inspire others to the field by furthering the conversation and study of narrative storytelling at one of the country's leading institutions."

For decades, Redstone has sponsored BU's Redstone Film Festival, which showcases the most promising work by students and recent graduates of the College of Communication's filmmaking and screenwriting programs. In 2012, he awarded $18 million to the BU School of Law, where he had taught in the 1980s and created one of the nation's first courses in entertainment law.

"Sumner Redstone famously said, 'Content is king,'" said Thomas Fiedler, dean of the College of Communication. "We define narrative as storytelling with a purpose and see it as one of the fundamental skills that underpin every discipline we teach. In the media business, the quality of content will always trump methods of distribution, which constantly change with the evolution of technology."

"$2.5M From Sumner Redstone Creates Narrative Professorship." Boston University Press Release 05/13/2014.