Committee passes maintenance fee

Jessica Sasseen

Neil F. Budde is repaying an old debt to Western.

He is one of 10 people who will likely have rooms named after them in the new Media and Technology Hall. Five are being honored for their donations to Western’s Broadcasting and Journalism department and five others were selected for their career contributions.

“Some wonderfully talented people have built the program to the level of national prestige, and as we open this building we need to recognize them permanently,” President Gary Ransdell said.

A recommendation was made and approved by the Board of Regents’ executive committee at their Tuesday board meeting. The recommendation was to name several rooms in the Media and Technology Hall, Lady Topper Basketball Office Complex, and the Kentucky Museum after donors and distinguished alumni.

The board will approve these recommendations at their May 9 meeting.

Budde, founder of the online version of The Wall Street Journal, credits Western with jump starting his journalism career. He donated $91,000 to the journalism program for three rooms – a photo laboratory, a computer lab and a faculty office.

“I think it’s important to give back something to organizations that are important to you and your career,” Budde said.

Among those receiving honorary naming are Student Publications Adviser Bob Adams, School of Journalism and Broadcasting Director Jo-Ann Albers and David Whitaker, the first journalism department head. Frances Richards, the first editor of the College Heights Herald and a long-time Herald adviser, and Charles Anderson, a leader in the development of public broadcasting, will also be honored.

Ransdell and David Lee, dean of Potter College, made the naming decisions in the building.

“(Lee and I) agreed on who was most significant, who has played the most significant roles in building those programs on a significant level,” Ransdell said. “There have been many, many others, but these are the leaders who have set standards of excellence and paved the way for national prominence.”

Lee said it was important to honor people who helped make the journalism program possible and to find donors for Western programs.

Among those being recognized for their contributions are Budde and his wife Virginia Edwards, alumni Alan and Cathy Palmer and alumna Virginia Davis. Cornelius Martin, vice-chair of the Board of Regents will also have a room in the new building. Landmark Community Newspapers were also recognized for their contribution.

Mitchell and Mary “Belle” Hunt made a donation to the Lady Topper Basketball Office Complex. Mary Hunt is a western alumna.

Two rooms will be named in the Kentucky Museum due to donations also: Dr. Thomas and Nancy Baird, and Thomas and Audrey Redford. The Bairds and Thomas Redford are alumni.

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