Belo Gift Announcement
Remarks by President Bill Powers
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Good afternoon, everyone. We are here today to announce an extraordinary gift to the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. This is a collective gift commitment of $15 million by The Belo Foundation, by Robert W. and Maureen H. Decherd, and by the estate of James M. Moroney, Jr., and the Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation. The magnificent gift will be used to build a new campus facility named the “Belo Center for New Media” in recognition of the role played in Texas history by Alfred Horatio Belo, the newspaper publisher who originally owned The Dallas Morning News and to honor the immeasurable contributions to the newspaper and television industries by George Bannerman Dealey, H. Ben Decherd, Joe M. Dealey, and James M. Moroney, Jr. These leaders were giants in the media, and now they will be honored on our campus.
Besides being the lead gift in the construction of the new Belo Center, the gift also includes two permanent teaching endowments that will benefit the Department of English and the School of Journalism. These funds will be used for stipends supporting non-tenured faculty and doctoral candidates who are engaged in teaching subjects related to literature, American society, and media studies.
The Belo Center for New Media will enable UT’s College of Communication to provide teaching, learning, and research that cross traditional academic boundaries and create new forms of communication and collaboration. The building will include:
- multi-use classrooms,
- expanded research and seminar space,
- multimedia teaching labs,
- advanced production labs and studios,
- distance learning and teleconferencing facilities,
- resource centers for student and career services,
- exhibit space and digital archives,
- and a theatre/auditorium.
The Belo Center for New Media will be located at the northeast corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets, across from the C-M-A building in the space that is currently being used for a surface-level parking lot. We anticipate that the Belo Center will be between 100,000 and 125,000 square feet in size. Its total estimated cost is $45 million. Institutional and private funds will also be used toward construction of the new building. We expect to break ground in January 2009.
This gift is the largest single donation ever made by the Belo Foundation. The University of Texas is enormously grateful for these gifts from the Foundation and the extended Dealey family, including the Decherds and Moroneys. Establishing the Belo Center will make it possible for our University to become a national leader in “new media” – the newest innovative forms of communication, including the Internet, digital technology, video games, personal information devices like iPods, and “whatever is next.”
This new media has transformed our world in a few short years, changing the way we receive and exchange information, and the way we interact with one another. Examining – and understanding – these new technologies, and how they affect our daily lives, requires a shift in how we study communication. The Belo Center for New Media will be where that study takes place – and where we go to understand the future of information.
Before we bring up Dean Rod Hart to tell you more about the Belo Center, let me briefly introduce our special guests. Some of them will have an opportunity to make their own remarks in a few minutes.
Today we are honored to have with us Maureen and Robert Decherd. Robert is the Belo Foundation’s chairman, and chairman and CEO of Belo Corp. Maureen is the president of the Decherd Foundation and a 1973 UT graduate. She has served as a member of the Commission of 125, the Dallas Leadership Council, and the UT Liberal Arts Advisory Council. The two endowments I mentioned earlier will be named the “Maureen Healy Decherd ’73 Teaching Endowment for English” and the “Maureen Healy Decherd ’73 Teaching Endowment for Journalism.”
Maureen and Robert, thank you for being here and for playing an indispensable role in this commitment.
Also joining us is James M. Moroney III, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News. He received an MBA from UT in 1983 and has served on the Commission of 125, the Dallas Leadership Council, and the Communication Advisory Council. Welcome, Jim. Thank you for being here and for your exceptional support of the College of Communication.
We also want to welcome Marian Spitzberg, president of the Belo Foundation, and Amy M. Meadows, vice president and executive director of the Belo Foundation. Thank you both for participating in today’s announcement.
We are joined, as well, by members of our Board of Regents – Vice Chair Cyndi Krier, John Barnhill, and Robert Estrada – who are here to represent the UT System.
Chancellor Mark Yudof is with us on this special occasion. And so is Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Thank you all for your support and for taking part in this program.
And now I would like to invite to the podium the man whose vision and leadership are responsible for securing this remarkable gift for the College of Communication and the University of Texas. Please welcome Rod Hart, dean of the College of Communication and the Shivers Chair in Communication.
Thank you, Dean Hart. We are here today, celebrating this announcement, because of your hard work and determination. You have earned the gratitude of your colleagues and the entire UT family. Thank you very much for what you have accomplished here today.
And now it is my privilege to bring to the podium the three principal donors responsible for this transformative gift.
Please welcome Maureen and Robert Decherd, and Jim Moroney.
Thank you very much – Maureen, Robert, and Jim. The University deeply appreciates your vision and generosity. This is an exceptional moment in the life of our University – and an exceptional moment for the College of Communication. Because of your gift, we foresee a stronger, brighter future for the College’s faculty and for generations of students to come. We are most grateful to the Belo Foundation and to the Decherds and the Moroneys. What you have started here will most certainly change the world.
And now I am pleased to welcome to the podium Regent John W. Barnhill, Jr.
Thank you, Regent Barnhill.
Thank you all for joining us today. This is a great day for the College of Communication and the entire University.
And now we will be happy to take questions from the media – whether new media or old.
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