Syracuse University Magazine

NewhouseGala.jpg

Newhouse Celebrates 50 Years of Leadership

Fifty alumni of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications—accomplished professionals from all areas of the media industry—were honored at the school’s “50Forward” gala celebration in New York City in October. Attendees at the event marked 50 years of leadership in communications education and celebrated the strength of the school as it moves into the next half century.

Sportscaster and Newhouse alumnus Mike Tirico ’88 emceed the fundraising event, which was held at Guastavino’s in midtown Manhattan. Among the 50 honorees, special tribute was paid to five: Bob Costas ’74, sportscaster with NBC; Larry Kramer ’72, former president and publisher of USA Today and an SU Trustee; Rob Light ’78, head of music, partner, and managing director at Creative Artists Agency; Kitty Lun G’80, chairman and CEO of Lowe China; and Tonia O’Connor ’91, president of content distribution and corporate business development with Univision Communications. (For a full list of the 50 honorees, see 50forward.syr.edu.)

“Nowhere is the strength of the Newhouse brand more evident than among our network of prestigious alumni, who have dominated the media industry for 50 years,” says Newhouse Dean Lorraine E. Branham. “We celebrate our strong heritage of legendary alumni, and we also celebrate their legacy—today’s alumni leaders who, like their predecessors, continue to push the envelope, embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, and rise to the top, even as the industry moves beneath their feet. We chose these honorees because they represent the kind of forward thinking for which our graduates have always been known.”

Among the well-wishers at the gala were SU Honorary Trustee Donald Newhouse ’51, president of Advance Publications, and members of the Newhouse family. It was Newhouse’s father, Advance founder Samuel I. Newhouse, whose gift to Syracuse University led to the opening of Newhouse 1 in 1964 and the eventual naming of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1971. Since then, with continued support from the Newhouse family and the S.I. Newhouse Foundation, the school has become what is widely regarded as the nation’s leading school of communications. Facilities were expanded and enhanced with the opening of Newhouse 2 in 1974, the opening of Newhouse 3 in 2007, and the renovation of Newhouse 2 in 2014, which resulted in the Newhouse Studio and Innovation Center. The cutting-edge facility includes Dick Clark Studios and the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation.  

The school also grew academically with the establishment of new programs, centers, and initiatives. The Military Visual Journalism program, which provides active-duty military personnel with training in photojournalism and motion media, was launched in 1964. One of the first chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America was established at Newhouse in 1968. The school’s first distance-learning program—an executive master’s degree in communications management for mid-career professionals—was established in 1995. The first graduate program in arts journalism at an accredited school began at Newhouse in 2005. In 2006, the school saw the opening of the Tully Center for Free Speech and the launch of the Mirror Awards for excellence in media industry reporting. Satellite campus programs were established in Los Angeles and New York City in 2009 and 2014. The Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship was founded in 2011, and the Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation and the W2O Center for Social Commerce were established in 2012. “Mr. Newhouse had a vision that this school would become the leading center for the study of communications,” Branham says. “Fifty years later, that vision is a reality.”

Proceeds from the event went to support future students through the Newhouse Scholarship Fund. “We want to keep the pipeline of talent flowing,” Branham says. —Wendy S. Loughlin