Donation to fund MU advertising scholarship

The $2.5 million from an alumnus can’t be used until 2006.
Thursday, February 3, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:12 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2008

Because of Paul Synor’s $2.5 million gift, future advertising students at MU can expect greater scholarship and fellowship opportunities.

“As specified by the donor, we will use the money for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students,” said Margaret Duffy, an associate professor and chairwoman of the department.

The gift, announced this week, came from the estate of Synor, a 1942 graduate of the School of Journalism who died in April. Synor worked for several advertising agencies, including Leo Burnett in Chicago, creator of brand icons such as Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Charlie the Tuna.

The advertising department focuses its curriculum on strategic communications, a broad approach that includes advertising and public relations.

With the money from the donation, the department can focus on its ultimate goal: what is best for the students, Duffy said.

“Talented, bright and passionate students will have even better opportunities in preparing for the careers they want,” she said.

Cynthia Frisby, an associate professor in advertising, said she thinks that scholarship assistance is one of the best uses for the money.

“I do many, many talks to high school students, and some want to come here but can’t afford it, for whatever reason,” Frisby said. “This will open the door for so many students who might not otherwise think about advertising as a career.”

Colin Kilpatrick, executive director of advancement for the School of Journalism, said no decision has been made about which scholarships will be funded and that according to MU’s guidelines, an endowment must earn interest for one year before an award can be made.

“That means that a scholarship will not be given until the fall of 2006 from the Synor endowment,” Kilpatrick said. “The advertising scholarship committee will meet in spring 2006 to make a determination as to who receives the scholarship for the following fall.”

The advertising department, which has been part of the School of Journalism since its founding in 1908, has about 240 undergraduate students and 13 full-time faculty members. Duffy said the department is delighted to receive such a meaningful gift from such a distinguished alumnus.

“This gift enhances a department that is already outstanding among its peer institutions,” Duffy said.

“It will help us continue to attract the best and brightest students.”

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