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Former MU photojournalism chairman donates $846,000 for new center

Sunday, January 27, 2008 | 11:06 p.m. CST; updated 9:53 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

A former MU photojournalism chairman plans to donate $846,000 to preserve and recognize important bodies of photojournalistic work.

Angus McDougall and his wife, Betty, are donating the money to the MU School of Journalism with plans to create the McDougall Center of Photojournalism Studies. The center will be dedicated at the school’s 100th anniversary, which will be marked in September.

McDougall was the head of the photojournalism sequence from 1972 to 1982. According to former student Ray Wong, McDougall significantly impacted the department and students through his hands-on teaching techniques.

Wong, who teaches media design at Middle Tennessee State University, said that while he was a student in the early 1970s, McDougall would regularly bring in up-and-coming professional photographers to discuss their work.

“He imbued all of us with a passion for photojournalism, passing on to a generation of students his belief in the photojournalist as eyewitness to his or her time,” said Rita Reed, a former student and associate professor of photojournalism at the School of Journalism. “In creating the center he assured the preservation of important work of selected photojournalists so that it may be studied both as historical source documents and as photographs.”

The center will reflect McDougall’s teaching style by bringing the work of photographers to the public to be researched, studied and seen by different eyes.

The center will only contain journalistic photographs such as those that have appeared in newspapers, magazines and documentaries.

The material will also include oral histories, writings and work pertaining to photojournalism. McDougall has also donated his collection of ground-breaking, high-speed strobe photography; it will be the first set of photographs submitted to the center.

The photographers and photographs that will be added to the center have not yet been decided. The criteria for admittance are also still being worked out.

The gift will likely provide funding for fellowships, graduate students and other scholarships.

“It is an important part of journalism school history,” said Mark Petty, a former student and graduate of MU. “Nobody knows how big it will become.”


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