The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has announced a $25 million endowment gift from alumnus Walter Hussman, Jr. ('68) and his family in support of its school of journalism and media.
The single largest gift ever to the school will support efforts to rebuild trust between the media and public and enable the newly renamed Hussman School of Journalism and Media to better prepare students for careers in journalism, public relations, advertising, and the rapidly evolving field of communications.
Hussman's grandfather, Clyde Palmer, bought the family's first newspaper in 1909, and over the next forty-eight years acquired and published five daily newspapers. At the age of 10, Hussman, Jr. began working at the Camden News, and after graduating from UNC he earned an MBA at Columbia University and later became president of WEHCO Media, which now owns newspapers, magazines, and cable television systems in six states. Longtime supporters of the university, the Hussman family previously established two endowed professorships at UNC, one in the journalism school and a second in the School of Education.
"It would be difficult to overstate the impact of this gift during this pivotal time of economic dislocation and mounting distrust amid campaigns to discredit reporting, journalism, and media institutions," said Hussman School dean Susan King. "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."
"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," said Hussman. "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."