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Columbia Missourian

UPDATE: Reynolds Journalism Institute receives $30.1 million gift from Reynolds Foundation

By Keith Reid-Cleveland
November 8, 2012 | 12:06 p.m. CST
MU chancellor Brady Deaton announces the $30.1 million gift to the Reynolds Journalism Institute from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in November 2012. The goal of the endowment is to provide permanent funding for future Reynolds Journalism Institute research.

*CORRECTION: Steven Anderson told the story about Donald W. Reynolds shedding a tear at the Reynolds Alumni Center ribbon-cutting. An earlier version of this article attributed the story to someone else.

COLUMBIA — The Reynolds Journalism Institute received the second largest gift in MU history Thursday morning.

The $30.1 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will establish a permanent endowment fund for the journalism institute.

"This endowment ensures that the Reynolds Institute will benefit future generations of citizens with its groundbreaking work on new methods and models of journalism," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said at an announcement.

The endowment is just shy of the $31 million gift the foundation gave in 2004 to create the institute — the largest gift in MU's history. The institute opened in 2008.

More than 150 people and several MU and institute administrators were present for the announcement, including Deaton, Missouri School of Journalism Dean Dean Mills, institute Executive Director Randy Picht, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation President Steven Anderson and UM System President Tim Wolfe.

Deaton mentioned that many in attendance were also present in 2005 when ground was broken to begin building the institute, located on the northeast end of Francis Quadrangle.

The Reynolds Alumni Center and the Reynolds Journalism Institute share the name of MU alumnus, journalist and philanthropist Donald W. Reynolds. He graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1927, later going on to launch the Donrey Media Group.

*At the announcement Thursday, Anderson, Reynolds Foundation president, recalled that at the 1992 ribbon-cutting for the alumni center, he saw Reynolds shed a tear while singing MU's alma mater, "Old Missouri." Reynolds died in 1993.

To date, the Reynolds Foundation has given MU more than $86 million, according to a document from the MU News Bureau provided at the announcement. This includes $15 million that MU received in 2009 to provide operating expenses for the institute through June 2015.

Anderson said the institute's performance, programs and impact all came to bear in the decision to keep funding it.

"It's based upon the performance of Dean Mills and his staff and faculty that we were able to make this final endowment," Anderson said.

Picht, a former Associated Press journalist who was hired to lead the institute in April, made introductions at the announcement held at the institute. Picht told the story of how Journalism School founder Walter Williams overflowed his plate of pancakes with maple syrup upon hearing the news of a donation that would lead to construction of Neff Hall.

In honor of that, Picht walked over to Anderson and presented him with a bottle of "RJI maple syrup." The audience laughed and applauded.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.