Many of us here including Steve Anderson, Dean Mills, Roger Gafke, Brian Foster and many others were in this spot, first on September 1, 2005, to break ground for this building, funded with the single largest gift to MU, $31M given to create the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
As Chancellor of MU, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has made a gift of $30 million, one hundred thousand dollars to the university ($30,100,000).
The gift will be used for an endowment for the Reynolds Journalism Institute so that its important work of fostering better journalism and involving the citizenry in the work of a free press is assured. The gift creates an endowment to permanently underwrite RJI media research, experimentation and innovation in the service of democracy.
This gift brings the Reynolds Foundation total giving to MU to 89 million, two hundred twenty-three thousand, three hundred and nine dollars ($89,223,309). This current gift of $30,100,000 is the largest gift specifically for endowment at a public university in the state of Missouri. The Reynolds gift of $31M to create the institute is the largest single gift to MU.
Don Reynolds set his sights on the Missouri School of Journalism and worked in a meat packing plant to pay for his studies, graduating in 1927. He is a testament to the power of education to change lives. He went on to work in newspapers, served in WWII, and came back to the newspaper business, eventually buying and selling papers and creating the Donrey Media Group.
This endowment gift, to fund the important work that RJI is doing, is a vote of confidence in MU by the Reynolds Foundation. The reputation of the world’s first school of journalism, the reputation that brought Donald W. Reynolds here in the 1920s has been solidified with this large gift.
The impact extends far beyond this building. RJI is an interdisciplinary research center, with faculty and students from business, computer science, engineering and education participating in its cutting-edge research projects. And of course the ultimate beneficiaries are citizens, who will be served by the new journalism approaches invented here.