Steve Anderson, president of the Donald W. Reynolds FoundationOn behalf of the board of trustees of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, it is a privilege to be here with you to celebrate this gift, a gift which will support the pioneering efforts of the Reynolds Journalism Institute in perpetuity.

Starting out in the 1940s, Mr. Reynolds was himself a pioneer in the business of journalism. He saw opportunity where others didn’t, like small community newspapers — very small markets at that time, like Las Vegas — which turned out to be very good bets. He was creative, investing in small markets and community newspapers, and entering the exciting new media markets of his time — like television stations and outdoor advertising.

Throughout his many business successes, Mr. Reynolds was proud to call the University of Missouri his alma mater.

In fact, during his lifetime, he made a personal gift for the University’s Donald W. Reynolds Alumni Center, and was able to see it dedicated on this campus in 1992.

Since his death in 1993, and prior to today’s announcement, the Foundation that bears his name had made $47 million in gifts to the University of Missouri.

And, as part of that support, in 2003, the Trustees of the Reynolds Foundation made a relatively small — for our Foundation — gift of $250,000 to seed a new enterprise at the J-School. The Reynolds Journalism Institute would be an effort to build a world-class center for research and pioneering ways to improve journalism. And for the last 10 years, the RJI has done just that.

When you make an endowment gift, it is always a concern whether or not the program really merits that long-term funding. What we saw early on is that the very nature of the Reynolds Journalism Institute is to pioneer new ways of doing journalism and new ways of designing the business of journalism. It is for that reason that we know the RJI will continue — because its mission is to change. We fully expect that “smart phones” and “blogs” will one day sound as dated as “typesetting” sounds today. The RJI will continue to be relevant because its mission is not to focus on any particular medium but to research the change, and to be ahead of the change, whatever that change is two, 20, even 100 years from now.

I want to thank the Chancellor for the University’s support of the School of Journalism and the RJI. The University’s commitment has been critical to the RJI’s success and important to our Foundation Trustees as we evaluated the potential for the program’s future. Certainly if the University is so willing to support a project, it must have potential for viability and academic accomplishment.

Finally, our board of trustees is grateful for the opportunity to make a gift that so appropriately honors the legacy of Donald W. Reynolds, honoring both his alma mater and his own pioneering career accomplishments.


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