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University of Missouri

A Present and Future Gift

$10 million gift to create 50 faculty fellowships in J-School.

Mizzou Reynolds Foundation Gift

Journalism Professor Randy Smith speaks with Steven L. Anderson, president of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, following the announcement of a $10 million gift from the foundation to the Missouri School of Journalism. Photo by Rob Hill.

With a single gift, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation surpassed the $100 million mark in giving to Mizzou and improved the MU School of Journalism’s ability to retain quality faculty.

The latest donation, $10 million for the J-School, announced at a ceremony Friday by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, is the culmination of two decades of giving by the Reynolds Foundation.

The money, set for release in 2021, will endow 50 fellowships — one for every associate and full professor in the school who is not already supported in this way. The $200,000 fellowships will supplement professors’ salaries and help pay for research and travel.

Reynolds Foundation President Steven L. Anderson said he wanted to make “a significant grant” to the J-School that would honor Reynolds’ legacy. Dean Mills, dean of the J-School, convinced him that faculty fellowships were “where we could have the most impact.”

Although starting faculty salaries at Mizzou are competitive with other institutions, Mills says he has not had the resources to keep salaries competitive over time. That has meant sometimes losing faculty — who he calls “our not-so-secret sauce” — to better pay elsewhere. “This will, in effect, be a loyalty rewards program in which those who stay with us will be rewarded for achieving associate professor rank and full professor rank,” he said after the ceremony.

And rather than wait four years for the money, Mizzou will look for other private donors to give $200,000 to create those fellowships now. Then, in 2021, the foundation’s money will boost each fellowship’s endowment to $400,000, generating an $18,000 annual income. Naming rights for each fellowship will rest with the matching donor.

Loftin announced the gift from the Great Room of the Reynolds Alumni Center, which was built with the first major gift to MU from the foundation of Donald W. Reynolds, BJ ’27, who died in 1993. Other gifts include $75 million to establish and endow the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. All told, Reynolds’ foundation has given Mizzou $100 million, making it the university’s largest donor.

Reynolds founded the Donrey Media Group, which, at his death, was one of the country’s largest privately held media companies. The group comprised more than 100 properties in newspapers, radio, broadcast and cable television, and outdoor advertising.

Friday’s gift will be the foundation’s last. The foundation, which Reynolds did not intend to operate forever, will close in 2017 with $10 million on its books. The money will stay there for four years to satisfy regulatory requirements before being disbursed to Mizzou.

Anderson said the gifts to MU reflect not only Reynolds’ personal history with the university but also the success of each gift and the university’s faithful stewardship of the funds.

“I believe he would have been extremely proud of the donations we have made to Mizzou,” Anderson said.