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$10 Million Gift to Fund Faculty Fellowships at the MU School of Journalism

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation reaches $100 million in giving to MU

Sept. 19, 2014

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst, hurstn@missouri.edu, 573-882-6217

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has pledged $10 million to the University of Missouri School of Journalism to enhance faculty salaries.  This most recent gift makes the Reynolds Foundation the first $100 million donor to the University of Missouri, following previous gifts to build the Reynolds Alumni Center and to build and fund in perpetuity the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

The gift, along with matching funds currently being raised from other private donors, will create the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Faculty Excellence Fund.  The endowment, when received, will support 50 faculty fellowships for associate and full professors at the MU School of Journalism. The Reynolds Foundation is allowing the donors who provide matching funds to name the individual fellowships.  Dean Mills, dean of the MU School of Journalism, says this gift will help the world’s first journalism school remain competitive in attracting and retaining elite journalism faculty.

“Exceptional teaching is a hallmark of the University of Missouri School of Journalism,” Mills said.  “Just as Walter Williams, the school’s founder, was a mentor to Donald W. Reynolds, our professors, supported by the Reynolds Foundation’s generous gift, will prepare those who lead our industry in the future.”

“In the spirit of its founder, the Reynolds Foundation has made a significant impact on the University of Missouri and the entire journalism profession over the past 60 years,” said MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. “This investment in our faculty means that our students are taught by the very best and will ensure Missouri’s continued prominence in journalism higher education.  We are very grateful to the Reynolds Foundation for their partnership and generosity.”

This gift to MU will mark the final philanthropic action by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which is set to cease operations at the end of 2017. MU will receive the gift in 2021 when the foundation distributes the remainder of its assets.  The terms of the gift allow the MU School of Journalism to accept donations of $200,000 immediately from third parties to establish named faculty fellowships, and to use the income in coming years to enhance faculty support.  When the Reynolds Foundation funds become available after 2021, they will be used to convert the fellowships to distinguished faculty fellowships of more than $400,000 each.

“Mr. Reynolds attributed his business success to his education and life experiences while a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism,” said Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith.  “We feel certain he would have been pleased to know that his Foundation provided significant support to his alma mater and made its final grant to endow salary support for faculty in the journalism school.”

Donald W. Reynolds was a 1927 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and spent his life building the Donrey Media Group, ultimately owning more than 100 enterprises in the newspaper, radio, television, cable television and outdoor advertising industries.

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