Mass Media and Technology Hall seeks new name

Mai Hoang

Although students and faculty can visibly see that Mass Media and Technology Hall is not quite finished, there’s another piece of business that needs to be settled – naming it.

Pam Johnson, director of the School of Journalism and Broadcasting, and the Institutional Advancement office are still trying to sell the naming rights for the new Media Hall as well as the journalism school.

Since 1998, Western has sought $5 million from a donor to buy naming rights to Media Hall. Western is also trying to raise $5 million to name the journalism school. It has been seeking a name since the school’s establishment in July 1999.

The person for whom the school is named wouldn’t necessarily have to give any money.

Johnson has taken over the main responsibility of naming the school. She is currently talking to one man that the school may be named after, whose name would not be revealed until a deal is closed.

He is not an alumnus, but served as a mentor for both Johnson and her predecessor, Jo-Ann Albers.

“We would like to name the school after someone who stands for the same kind of mission and vision the school has,” Johnson said. “He’s a nationally known figure who has been committed to excellence in journalism education and diversity for more than 40 years.”

Albers said she has known the person for over 30 years. He encouraged her to go into journalism education administration.

“It would be nice to recognize the fact that he’s done so much for journalists and journalism programs,” Albers said.

Johnson said she will know within the month if the person will agree to have the school named after him.

If he agrees, Johnson will try to get lead gifts of $2 million or $3 million from newspaper organizations, she said. Johnson will then campaign for smaller gifts from major professionals, foundations and organizations to finish raising the $5 million total.

“I can’t stress enough that the school is very strong now,” she said. “It’s in a very good position to be promoted nationally and receive national funding.”

While the prospects appear strong that the journalism school will be named this year, the building’s name is still questionable.

Tom Hiles, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said he is waiting on a potential donor to provide naming rights for the Media Hall, which also has a $5 million price tag.

“We had some proposals out for that, but so far no success,” he said.

Hiles said the most viable proposal has been out for over a year, and the potential donor has asked the university to give him time to think over the proposal.

He said there is no time frame for which the potential donor will make a decision.

Name changes for either the journalism school or Media Hall will have to be approved by the Board of Regents.

Johnson said the administration has been supportive in her efforts for fund raising, and she is optimistic about naming the school.

“With the support of the president on down, you can’t miss,” she said.

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