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Medill celebrates 20th anniversary of McCormick Foundation Journalism Program

At Saturday’s graduation convocation Medill honored the Robert R. McCormick Foundation Journalism Program with a special presentation for its 20th anniversary.

David Hiller

“The McCormick Foundation has a long and generous history of support for Medill,” said Dean Bradley J. Hamm. “We are grateful for that support and consider the foundation our most important partner in journalism education and excellence.”

 David Hiller, president and CEO of the McCormick Foundation, and Clark Bell, director of the journalism program, attended the ceremony. Medill presented the foundation with a crystal plaque engraved with its two buildings, Fisk Hall and the McCormick Tribune Center.

“In almost every moment when Medill needed help, had an idea, could use support, McCormick Foundation stepped forward,” Hamm said. “It is a remarkable story.”

McCormick’s support has allowed Medill to excel at the highest level, Hamm said.

When Hiller addressed the graduates he recalled the long relationship between McCormick and Medill.

“Our association goes back way longer than 20 years to the very beginning to the announcement and the founding in November of 1920, when Col. Robert R. McCormick and the leaders of Northwestern decided that it was time to create a great journalism school.” Hiller said. The school was named for Joseph Medill, the grandfather of Col. McCormick, who was then publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Medill was managing editor and co-owner of the Tribune in the 1800s.

“It is not about a building, a name, or a wall, its about the work that you all do, that you carry out into the world,” Hiller told the graduates, faculty and staff. “If you want to see the legacy of McCormick and Medill, look around at the work that you all do and will do in the future.”

Over the years, McCormick 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:

  • 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.
  • Medill’s 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.
  • Program support of the Medill Watchdog project which partners student interns with professional investigative journalists to do in-depth public service journalism.
  • 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 space.
  • 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.
  • NewsNexus which connects student and professional journalists working on social justice reporting in the Chicago area and will provide professional development training for working journalists.
  • Media Management Center, a research and executive education hub that advances the success of media companies and the professional growth of media executives around the world through its seminars and research.