Belo, Families Donating $15 Million For New Media Center At U of Texas J-School

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By: E&P Staff

The Belo Foundation and the Decherd and Moroney families are donating $15 million to establish a center for new media named after Dallas Morning News founder Alfred Horatio Belo at the University of Texas at Austin College of Communications.

Belo said the gift is the largest donation its ever made, and is the first pledge the journalism school has received for the new media center.

In addition to the foundation, the pledge comes from Belo Corp. Chairman and CEO Robert W. Decherd and his wife Maureen H. Decherd, a 1973 Texas graduate, as well as from the Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation, and the estate of James M. Moroney Jr., a 1943 graduate. Jim Moroney is publisher of the Morning News.

The Belo Foundation is pledging $12 million of the $15 million donation. In an announcement, Belo said the Decherds are donating $1.5 million, with $1 million used to create the “Maureen Healy Decherd ’73 Teaching Endowment for English,” benefiting the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts. The remaining $500,000 will be used to create the “Maureen Healy Decherd ’73 Teaching Endowment for Journalism,” benefiting the School of Journalism in the College of Communication. Both endowments will create stipends for non-tenured faculty and doctorate candidates engaged in teaching activities related to literature, American society or U.S. media, Belo said.

Construction cost of the center, which is expected to break ground in January 2009, is estimated at $45 million.

The Belo New Media Center will house new and existing research centers and institutes, including the Center for Childhood Communication, the Executive Communication Institute, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, the Speech and Hearing Center, the University of Texas Documentary Center and the University of Texas Film Institute.

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