Howard University to Get $2 Million for Communications Chair
Washington — In one of the largest corporate gifts earmarked for the Howard University School of Communications, Time Warner Inc. announced late in March that it is donating $2 million to endow a professorship in media and entertainment studies. Bill Duke, noted Hollywood actor, producer, and film director will occupy the endowed chair as the first Time Warner Professor. Duke, who became chairperson of the School of Communications’ Department of Radio, Television, and Film last summer, says the endowment will help the department revamp its curriculum to have a greater focus on media and entertainment management. Approximately $100,000 of the gift will support the School of Communications Curriculum Redesign Project, according to Howard officials. “We want to balance our focus in terms of ownership and management,” Duke says, adding that Howard University can be a leading institution in helping Blacks become managers and owners in the media and entertainment industry. “We want to broaden our way of thinking about our role in the media,” he says. Duke, who continues to produce and direct films, says he intends to leverage his involvement in film projects to provide learning opportunities for Howard students. A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Duke has an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. “Our partnership with Time Warner Inc. and opportunities it portends will undoubtedly bolster our ability to foster both a broader scope of leadership and a new, energetic cadre of media leaders,” Howard University President Dr. Patrick Swygert said in a statement. The Time Warner endowment represents the company’s largest gift ever to a historically Black university. In 1998, the company gave Howard $500,000 for an endowment fund that honors the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown by supporting initiatives that further his commitment to international development and global business training. “This contribution … reflects our strong belief that we need to prepare a diverse workforce to meet the complex challenges of the new media world that lie ahead,” Time Warner President Richard Parsons says.
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