Newhouse Foundation announces intention to pledge $75 million to Newhouse School

Kathleen Walters, Donald Newhouse, Kent Syverud, and Amy Falkner pose in the Newhoouse 1 lobby
Board of Trustees chair Kathleen Walters, Donald Newhouse, Syracuse University chancellor Kent Syverud and Newhouse School interim dean Amy Falkner stand in the lobby if Newhouse 1, which Newhouse’s father helped dedicate in 1964.

The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation has announced its intention to pledge $75 million to Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, which will be the largest gift in the University’s 150-year history. Donald E. Newhouse ’51 made the announcement on Monday at an event at the Newhouse School on the Syracuse University campus.

“The Newhouse School resulted from my father’s dream to establish the finest journalism school in the world,” Newhouse said. “That vision has come true, thanks to the unwavering support of Chancellor Kent Syverud, the extraordinary leadership of Deans David Rubin and Lorraine Branham, and the exceptional faculty and the diverse and successful student body they have attracted to the school.”

“The proud legacy of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is more important now than it has ever been,” said Syverud. “The generosity of the Newhouse family enables Syracuse University to educate journalists whose dedication to the First Amendment enriches our society. Their support ensures that Syracuse University graduates are both thoughtful communicators who understand the complexity of global audiences and bold innovators who are shaping the future of the field. The Newhouse family’s vision and tremendous philanthropy empowers Syracuse University’s faculty to address rapidly evolving media platforms and communication fields. Their innovation prepares our students to enter a competitive job market with experiences and skills that make an impact.”

The gift, which would be one of the largest ever to any communications school, will support multiple academic initiatives, under the leadership of the school’s next dean. It expands the visions of the school’s two most recent leaders: David Rubin, who retired in 2008 after 18 years as dean, and Lorraine Branham, who died of cancer last year after nearly 11 years as dean. A national search for the next dean is underway, with the goal of having a new leader in place by July 1, 2020, the start of the new fiscal year.

“I have great confidence that the search committee will find an outstanding successor to David and Lorraine,” Newhouse said. “In this era in which public communications is undergoing continual and radical change, my family and I expect to continue our long-term commitment to ensure that the school my Dad helped found almost 60 years ago remains the leading communications school in the world for another generation.

“We are so grateful to the Newhouse Foundation for this gift that sets the school on the path to achieve its most important priorities for many years to come,” said Interim Dean Amy Falkner. “The Newhouse School would not have become the preeminent school it is today without the commitment of the Newhouse family, which has been steadfast in its support for more than half a century. This gift ensures that the school will continue to be on the leading edge of communications education, research and practice.”

Donald Newhouse is an honorary trustee of Syracuse University. His son, Michael, is a voting trustee. The Newhouse School is named for Donald Newhouse’s late father, Samuel I. Newhouse, who founded Advance Publications in 1922. His initial gift of $15 million in 1962—the largest gift in University history at that time—supported the construction of the first of the school’s three buildings, Newhouse 1, which was dedicated in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The second building, Newhouse 2, was dedicated in 1974 by William S. Paley, chairman of the board of CBS. With support from the Newhouse Foundation, the third building, Newhouse 3, was dedicated in 2007 by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts. Donald Newhouse and his late brother, S.I. Newhouse Jr., were present at all three dedication ceremonies.

The Newhouse Foundation has also supported the school’s longstanding commitment to diversity in journalism through the Newhouse Minority Fellowship Program, established under Rubin in 1994. The program provides graduate students in journalism with full-tuition scholarships and on-the-job training at Advance Media New York. More than 100 students have completed the program.

Today’s Newhouse Foundation gift is the largest and most ambitious in Syracuse University history. It provides a surge for Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University, the largest fundraising campaign in the institution’s history, which was launched in November.