College of Communication and Information to Kick Off Fundraising Campaign

Celebrating cutting-edge facilities and the appointment of world-class faculty who are helping to prepare students for communication jobs of the future, UT’s College of Communication and Information will launch the public phase of a $15 million campaign.

The Investing in the Journey to the Top 25 campaign announcement will be made tonight as part of the college’s annual awards banquet.

“The tremendous impact of our donors is obvious as you look around campus and see the caliber of faculty and students we attract,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. “Alumni, friends, and corporate partners have made—and will continue to make—a huge difference in the College of Communication and Information. We are grateful for their continuing support.”

About $9.4 million has been raised over the past four years to college’s campaign, which has helped recruit world-class faculty and funded facilities and technology to help students build skills to land jobs in fast-changing communication industries.

Co-chairs of the college’s campaign are David Bohan, chair and founder of Bohan Advertising and Marketing in Nashville, and Martha “Missy” Wallen, chair of the Knoxville Group at Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. in Knoxville.

The College of Communication and Information is composed of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the School of Information Science, and the School of Communication Studies.

“This is an especially exciting time for anyone in communication and information. Technology and convergence are causing these fields to change at lightning speed,” said Mike Wirth, dean of the college. “With the generosity of our alumni and friends, we’ll continue to stay ahead of the curve and provide our students with the training they’ll need to succeed in their future jobs.”

The college is raising funds for additional named and endowed professorships, graduate fellowships, and merit- and need-based scholarships. Contributions will also advance strategic initiatives such as the college’s diversity programming.

The college is already transforming how it delivers instruction, with new high-tech facilities:

  • The Adam Brown Social Media Command Center, which opened in March, uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio, the same technology Fortune 100 companies worldwide use to publish, engage, and analyze their social media marketing activities. The center was built and is operated through a fund established for the college by Adam Brown, an alumnus of the college who is now executive strategist for the San Francisco-based firm Salesforce.
  • The new Public Speaking Center, which opened on November 2 offers three sound-proof practice bays equipped with lecterns, cameras, and microphones, which will allow faculty and students to practice and review their public speaking skills. The facility was created in part with a gift from CCI alumnus Peyton Manning, retired NFL quarterback.

Campaign funds have also been used to support students in their efforts to gain on the job experience through fellowships and internships.

The Williams endowment provided the support journalism senior Taylor Gilmore needed for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Gilmore spent the summer as a News21 fellow alongside other top journalism students from across the country at the Cronkite Center at Arizona State University. The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation created News21 as a cornerstone of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. CCI Board of Visitors Vice Chair John Williams and his wife, Patty, both alumni, funded the Williams Endowment dedicated to student enrichment.

Wirth said enhancements already made possible by the campaign have sparked great momentum.

“We have made significant progress, thanks to our loyal alumni and donors,” Wirth said. “With their continued support we will provide the facilities, faculty, and opportunities that nurture tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of communication and information.”

Contribute to the college’s campaign online here.

C O N T A C T:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)