COLUMBIA - MU officials announced Thursday the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will provide MU with more than $30 million to guarantee permanent funding for the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton made the announcement at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The gift is the largest endowment gift in the history of the university, and the second largest gift ever. The largest gift was the more than $31 million gift the foundation presented the university in 2004 to provide the physical facilities and initial operating costs for the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
This gift also establishes a permanent endowment fund that will support ongoing expenses.
Missouri School of Journalism Dean Dean Mills said he is optimistic about what will happen at RJI with this new endowment gift.
"I think the exciting thing is that, we are shaping here this world-class center for research and innovation in journalism, and the benefit of, for the benefit of citizens. And, we're very excited to be able to say that that's going to go on forever," Mills told KOMU 8 News.
Foundation representative Steven Anderson said it is rare for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to grant endowment funds, and the endowment to MU is by far the largest endowment gift the foundation has given.
"We base our decisions on leadership, on programs on impact of the programs in the communities or in the profession in this instance. They've done wonderfully," Anderson said.
RJI Executive Director Randy Picht said the gift is great news for the news business, and this endowment gift will mean "more partnerships, more solutions and, more importantly, stronger journalism."
Thursday's gift brings the total amount given to the University of Missouri by the foundation to almost $90 million. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is the top donor to the University of Missouri, followed by the Kansas City Sports Trust for MU athletic programs.
In the interest of full disclosure, KOMU 8 News is a teaching lab for the Missouri School of Journalism.