The USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism fundraising initiative has surpassed $100 million since launching in fall 2012, with approximately $50 million currently remaining toward the $150-million goal. The initiative is part of the broader Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to raise $6 billion to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand the university’s positive impact on the community and world.
Aimed at investing in generations of students and scholars exploring and developing the digital future, the initiative is raising money to enhance the visionary new Wallis Annenberg Hall and to provide student scholarships and fellowships as well as chaired professorships and funding for new initiatives led by students and faculty.
The gift that pushed the fundraising past the $100 million mark came from the family of Tim Novoselski ’73, who died last summer. The bequest, made by his wife, Denise Novoselski ’72, honors Tim’s memory by endowing a scholarship for undergraduate journalism students.
“Tim received a scholarship that enabled him to attend USC,” said Denise Novoselski, who met him while both were working at the Daily Trojan. “That scholarship gave him a life that he otherwise would never have had.”
Over the years, the couple partnered in various publishing ventures, from the McCall Star News in Idaho to Special Events magazine, based in Malibu, Calif.
“We learned that the quality of journalism is paramount, whether in business or consumer news publishing,” Denise said. “Shortly after Tim died, I was considering bequests and I thought it was important to give another young person an opportunity like Tim had. Helping those who want to go into journalism is critically important.”
She added: “Tim never would have envisioned that he would be memorialized with an endowment to USC that was to become so significant. He would have been immensely proud to know that he’d helped to achieve that $100 million milestone.”
In making the contribution, Denise joined more than 3,000 other USC Annenberg donors who have supported the initiative. Of these donors, 88 percent made gifts of less than $1,000 and for many, these were their first gifts to USC Annenberg. The initiative is already having an impact, supporting the construction of the technologically transformative building set to open this fall, as well as USC Annenberg’s academic priorities.
Once completed, Wallis Annenberg Hall will enhance USC Annenberg’s role as a leader of a new era of digital media communication and education. With five floors and 88,000 square feet on the University Park campus, the new building will be a physical manifestation of USC Annenberg’s dedication to collaboration and experimentation.
“I would like to thank each and every one of you who has shown our school such generosity,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “The outpouring of support, from more than 3,000 sources, is a tribute to the extraordinary work being done by our students, alumni, faculty and staff.”
Added Wilson: “We still have so much important work to do to reach our goal. Every gift counts.”
Planning for the building was initiated by a $50 million lead gift from the Annenberg Foundation at the direction of Wallis Annenberg, who is also the foundation’s president and CEO. The new construction will supplement the school’s current operations in its existing building, which was recently declared a Historic-Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles City Council.
Individuals such as Annenberg alumni Jacki Wells Cisneros and Corii and Cari Berg have made pledges and selected their recognition within the new building. Cisneros, a Mega Millions lottery winner and former assignment desk editor at KCBS and KNBC, will aptly name the assignment desk, the hub of the converged newsroom and media center. Berg, an executive at Sony Pictures Television, chose to name an open meeting area designed so that students can effectively collaborate on assignments. There remain additional naming opportunities in the new building.
For Denise, the bequest she made to honor her husband is just the beginning of her USC Annenberg giving.
“I would like to ask friends and family to donate to the scholarship annually on the anniversary of Tim’s death, and then I would match the funds, to help future students,” she said. “I believe that it’s critical to tell stories about the human condition, the political system, world events and we need trained professionals to do that; we need journalism students who know how to report the news impartially. And I really felt strongly that I needed to earmark the scholarship to someone who felt the same way about pursuing journalism as a career as my husband Tim.”