Special Giving Society Honors Founding Dean
Columbia, Mo. (July 9, 2007) — The work of Walter Williams continues to influence the profession of journalism a century after he founded the world’s first school dedicated to the field on Sept. 14, 1908. The Missouri School of Journalism is consistently regarded as one of the top journalism schools in the world, and its alumni can be found in newsrooms, corporate boardrooms, advertising agencies and public relations firms around the globe.
Now, charter membership is available for a special giving society created to ensure that Williams’ vision continues into the School’s second century.
The Walter Williams Society recognizes the generosity of individuals who have contributed a cumulative minimum of $25,000 during their lifetimes or made planned gifts or estate provisions of at least $50,000. Charter membership is available through Dec. 31, 2008.
“We are extremely grateful to alumni and friends who have helped financially to build the School as the global leader,” said Esther Thorson, acting dean of the School. “By recognizing leading supporters as charter members of the Society during our centennial year, we honor those whose philanthropy helped shape the first century of journalism education.”
Charter membership to The Walter Williams Society coincides with “100 by 100: The Centennial Campaign for the Missouri School of Journalism,” a fundraising effort to increase the School’s endowment to $100 million by its centennial in 2008. Earnings from endowments benefit scholarships, faculty resources, technology and operating support for the School’s media laboratories such as the Columbia Missourian, KOMU-TV, KBIA and MOJO Ad. Endowments that are unrestricted allow the School flexibility to meet its greatest needs and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.
Walter Williams Society members partner with the School to prepare future generations of media professionals. All members receive a printed citation of membership and a copy of The Journalist’s Creed; are honored at Missouri School of Journalism events; and qualify for dual membership in the University of Missouri-Columbia‘s Jefferson Club. Charter members to the Society will be recognized in a permanent display at the Missouri School of Journalism.
The Missouri Journalism tradition can be traced to Williams, who had a vision for the profession that reached far beyond his humble beginnings. A printer’s devil from Boonville, Mo., in his youth, Williams garnered national acclaim as a country weekly editor in the late 1800s. He used his reputation to elevate the industry, including championing a school for editors at the University of Missouri. Williams never earned a college degree but firmly believed in higher education, serving as both dean of the School and president of the University of Missouri. His many legacies include the renowned Missouri Method of hands-on training and The Journalist’s Creed, considered by many as the definitive code of ethics for journalists.
For information on The Walter Williams Society and “100 by 100: The Centennial Campaign for the Missouri School of Journalism,” contact Colin Kilpatrick, executive director of the School’s development office, or by calling at 573-882-0334.
Updated: April 17, 2020