Hearst $1.5 Million Gift to Help Retain Faculty and Renovate Student Media Center

A $1.5 million grant from the Hearst Foundations will establish a faculty fellowship endowment to help support faculty members in the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin and begin renovating the Texas Student Media (TSM) building, which houses The Daily Texan.

The Hearst Foundations, composed of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Hearst Foundation, Inc., are adding to previous gifts, bringing to more than $5 million the amount the foundations and the Hearst Corporation have contributed to The University of Texas System in recent years.

These gifts include the Frank A. Bennack Chair in Journalism and the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Visiting Professionals program, as well as gifts to the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston. Because of these gifts, the TSM building will be redesignated the William Randolph Hearst building.

"This most recent Hearst gift will provide 'start-up' money to help us retain the best and the brightest faculty, while enhancing students' out-of-class experiences in one of the most storied pre-professional programs in academia," said Dr. Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication. "It's through gifts like this that we will become the most far-reaching institution for media education in the United States."

The William Randolph Hearst Faculty Fellowship Endowment strikes at a central theme of the university's upcoming capital campaign, which is to attract and retain the best faculty to ensure that students receive a first-class education. The endowment will support junior and clinical faculty through salary supplements, funds for professional conventions, minor equipment purchases, stipends to hire students for work on extracurricular projects or materials needed for new courses.

The 25,000-square-foot Texas Student Media building in the College of Communication complex, houses the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and its 32-page offset press, as well as The Cactus Yearbook, KVRX 91.7 FM and Texas Student Television. With 700 students working for the Texas Student Media program at any given time, it is the largest pre-professional program of its kind.

Renovating the building will open space for the computer and digital technologies that are the hallmarks of the new media era, such as online journalism, interactive advertising and convergent media. It also will create space to foster the collaboration required between students, faculty and volunteer professionals from different disciplines as they explore strategies to capture and sustain audience attention in the quickly evolving world of new media.

Thanks to the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Visiting Professionals program, the College of Communication has been able to bring distinguished professionals to campus to teach classes, take part in symposia, give public lectures and have informal lunches with faculty and students. Examples of visiting professionals in recent years include: Charles Bierbauer, Helen Gurley Brown, Catherine Crier, Walter Cronkite, Maureen Dowd, Mark Halperin, Molly Ivins, William Kristol, Spike Lee, Victor Navask, Leonard Pitts Jr., Dan Rather, Robert Rodriguez and Karen Tumulty.

In September 2007, the College of Communication announced plans to establish the Belo Center for New Media, a new building that will extend the College of Communication Complex and that will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, advanced production labs and seminar rooms, along with large auditorium spaces for introductory classes, film showings and conferences. Ground breaking on the Belo Center is expected in late 2009.

About the Hearst Foundations
Established in the mid-1940s by William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Foundations are guided by the same charitable mission that reflects his philanthropic interests: education, health, social services and culture. With combined assets of $1 billion, the Foundations provide grants throughout the United States. The two Foundations share the same funding guidelines, leadership and staff. Both Foundations are independent private philanthropies operating separately from Hearst Corporation.