The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is off to a good start in its drive to raise private funds for scholarships and academic enhancements that will ensure its success as a top-flight graduate program. Over the past year, friends of the School of Journalism and supporters of its mission have donated more than $6 million to help get the School successfully underway.
These gifts already have been used to offer 52 full and partial scholarships to students who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend the School. These need-based scholarships ranged in size from $1,000 to $7,500, the full cost of annual tuition and fees. Scholarship support is key to the mission of enrolling a diverse group of talented and promising students. These funds also will help to subsidize internships for students next summer.
Although the School of Journalism is publicly supported, there are many program enhancements that are beyond the scope of its modest tuition and state funding. To build a truly great program, the School must secure supplementary help from the private sector.
Those who have stepped up to help in the School’s first year include prominent journalists, alumni of City College’s storied journalism program, corporate philanthropic sources, members of the School’s advisory board, and a host of individuals who support the program’s mission. The largest contribution, a $4 million endowment gift, was made last fall by the sisters of retired New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger. The gift will provide scholarships for talented students with limited financial resources. In June, the School received a $1 million pledge from an anonymous donor.
Other major contributors to the school include: The McGraw-Hill Companies; family and friends of long-time City College Professor Irving Rosenthal; the family of broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr; broadcast journalists Connie Chung and Maury Povich; the family of ABC News engineer Julius Barnathan; radio pioneer Himan Brown; public relations guru Howard Rubenstein; and television anchor Roz Abrams. The Apple Corporation has donated 75 laptop computers for the first class.
While scholarships and paid internships remain the School’s highest priority, Dean Steve Shepard hopes to raise support for a number of program enhancements. These include endowed chairs; the NYC Community News Service; the January Academy; visiting journalist fellowships; merit awards; a journalist pipeline program to interest talented high school students in journalism careers; endowment programs to build the urban, business/economic, health/medical, and arts/culture reporting specialty reporting areas; and a student services support fund.