The gift from the estate of alum Reese Felts, who died earlier this year, is the largest single gift from an individual in the 100-year history of UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The donation will fund the transformation of a classroom into a 24-hour newsroom, where students will work with faculty to produce news for a variety of audiences. This newsroom will also function as a research center to investigate different types of audiences and communities, and in tandem with an adjacent computer facility, will create a hub for students in all communications fields.
Felts was a 1952 UNC graduate who worked for nearly 30 years as a radio and television broadcaster in Winston-Salem before retiring in 1980. He spent the majority of his career at WSJS (now WXII).
?The journalism school instilled Reese with an almost-religious awe of the role journalism in our society and the profound importance of a free and responsible press,? said Cowles Liipfert, Felts' attorney and friend, in a statement from UNC.
?Reese's kindness and generosity were well known by many,? Jean Folkerts, dean of the journalism school, said in a statement. ?His gift enables us to do something unique and meaningful for our students.?
This is not the school's first major gift from Felts. In 1996, he endowed an annual $3,000 scholarship for electronic communication students, and in 1997 he named three editing suites in the journalism building. His donation will also fund a distinguished professorship in the school.
?It is fitting that a gift from an older generation of journalists will help our students shape the future of news dissemination,? UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement.
UNC is also part of an initiative funded by the Carnegie Corp. and the Knight Foundation that seeks to help journalism education adapt to the challenges of a struggling news industry. It encourages experimental journalism projects, curriculum enhancement and collaboration with other academic disciplines. The school will host a meeting Oct. 4-5 of deans from top journalism programs participating in the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
By: E&P Staff A $3.5 million gift from an alumnus will fund a major experimental student news project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the school announced Thursday.