Pat Hiatte, who graduated from the School of Journalism in 1973, designated a portion of the gift for the school's professional newsroom operations, which include a daily newspaper, the Columbia Missourian, and NBC affiliate KOMU, enabling it to remain a national leader in journalism education. "Journalism improves everyone's quality of life because it makes us more informed," said Hiatte, who shifted from working in a newsroom to serving as a communications official for a railroad company. "It exposes us to ideas we might not otherwise come into contact with, it broadens our horizons, and increases our ability to learn and function effectively as citizens."
The other half of the gift will support initiatives at the Mizzou Botanic Garden, including the Legacy Oaks project. While approximately 6,200 trees on the MU campus make up the backbone of the 735-acre botanic garden landscape, in any given year about two hundred trees need to be replaced due to disease or decay.
"It's important to support this kind of beautification," said Sandy Hiatte. "It not only keeps our campus looking great for our students and visitors, but the botanic garden also serves as a living laboratory for students in many different disciplines. The garden teaches us about ecology, plant science, natural resources, and so much more. It’s a strong reminder for us all about the need to care for our environment."