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Medill celebrates McCormick Foundation Day

Medill will celebrate McCormick Foundation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is observing the 20th anniversary of its journalism program. The day of celebration will honor the support of one of Medill’s most generous benefactors and showcase Medill projects funded by McCormick.

“Medill is the major recipient of McCormick journalism program grants to universities, and has received funds from the journalism program and other McCormick initiatives,” said Medill Dean Bradley J. Hamm. “The level of their support to our school — millions of dollars since the foundation was established — is stunning.”

McCormick Foundation Day at Medill is our way of showing our gratefulness to McCormick for the tremendous support over the years, Hamm said.

The day will kick off at 10 a.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum and follow with a festive picnic. During the day, students, faculty, staff and visitors can learn about the work of Medill’s McCormick-funded projects

From 11 a.m. to noon, these projects will be showcased in the McCormick Tribune Center:

  • National Security Journalism Initiative - MFC Forum
  • Medill Media Teens - MFC 3-119
  • Medill Watchdog - MFC 3-127

From 1 to 2 p.m., these projects will be showcased in Fisk Hall:

  • Knight Lab - Fisk 109
  • Social Justice News Nexus - Fisk 311
  • The Youth Project - Fisk 306
  • McCormick Scholars - Fisk 209

The partnership between Medill and McCormick extends to the founding of Medill. The school was established in 1921 through the initiative of Chicago Tribune reporter Eddie Doherty and the encouragement of Col. Robert R. McCormick and Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson, then editors and publishers of the Tribune.

The school was named in honor of Joseph Medill, the grandfather of McCormick and Patterson and the guiding force behind the Tribune for 44 years.

The McCormick Foundation was established in 1955 in McCormick’s estate.

His last will and testament read, in part: “It is my hope that my trustees will use a portion of the income…to encourage and promote the education of the people of the State of Illinois in the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America, and particularly in the principles of freedom of speech and of the press, and to assist in repelling any attacks upon the right of freedom of speech and freedom of press by providing educational opportunities for the study of the growth and importance of these principles.”

With the goal of honoring McCormick’s wishes, the McCormick Foundation has funded major scholarships, building projects and journalism programs, which enhance Medill’s ability to prepare journalism students and serve as a resource to the profession, and to propel Medill as a thought leader in the industry. It has supported:

  • National Security Journalism Initiative, where the grant assists Medill in providing the country's only national security journalism specialization and in providing professional development to working journalists.
  • McCormick Scholars program, which awards full-tuition support to master's students who have demonstrated leadership potential and a strong commitment to a career in news media management.
  • Capital funds to build the McCormick Tribune Center, a modern and beautiful building housing Medill’s broadcast studios, classroom and office space including the Forum auditorium. McCormick also provided funds to renovate Fisk Hall.
  • Knight Lab, which advances news media innovation through exploration, experimentation, and education. The team of technologists and journalists work together to help media makers inform and engage the public with software focused on finding, reporting, presenting and distributing the news.
  • Medill Media Teens, a mentoring project where Medill students mentor teens from the Gary Comer Youth Center. The goal of this program is to help teens become better candidates for jobs or college admissions. Teens graduate from the two-year program with the skills, equipment and confidence they need to produce multimedia.
  • Funding for social justice journalism initiatives including Social Justice News Nexus, which connects student and professional journalists working on social justice reporting in the Chicago area and provides professional development training for working journalists. They have also provided program support for The Youth Bureau, a project that reports on juvenile justice issues.