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Alumnus David F. Freedman makes $3 million campaign commitment

Medill alumnus David F. Freedman

Northwestern University alumnus David F. Freedman '81 has made a $3 million commitment to further the study of reporting on social justice issues at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Freedman's gift will establish the David F. Freedman Fund for Social Justice Reporting Initiatives to support programs focused on wrongful convictions, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, globalization and other social justice issues.

"David has been a great friend and supporter of Medill for many years," said Bradley J. Hamm, dean of Medill. "We are proud to have this fund in his name and the support it will provide in social justice reporting."

Freedman's gift will be used to support research, students, curricula, conferences and other activities at the intersection of journalism and social justice, such as:

  • The Medill Justice Project
  • The Medill Equal Media Project, established with a gift from Freedman in 2011
  • Work-study programs for Medill students on staff at The Daily Northwestern
  • International journalism residencies
  • Reporting on issues linked to the consequences of globalization, such as preservation of the environment and natural resources, refugee and immigration policy, financial services and the job market

Social justice pursuits are "an example of what Medill does best," said Freedman, who serves on the Medill Justice Project's board of advisers. "Medill trains journalists to raise issues, to uncover facts, to give voices to people who don't otherwise have those voices and to bring about change by powerfully telling the stories of the people whose lives are affected."

Freedman earned a bachelor of science in journalism from Medill in 1981. While at Medill on a scholarship, he was on the staff of The Daily Northwestern, serving as The Daily's managing editor during his senior year. After graduation, Freedman covered suburban politics at the Miami Herald. Reporting on legal squabbles among public officials, he was drawn increasingly to the law, which led him to attend Columbia Law School on a scholarship and embark on a successful corporate legal career. Freedman spent 15 years in Paris, where he worked for the global law firm of Baker & McKenzie, from which he retired as a partner in 2014.

Now based in Palm Springs, California, Freedman stays connected to Medill and Northwestern in numerous ways. In his role on the Medill Justice Project Advisory Board, he has connected the program to pro bono legal advisers at Baker & McKenzie's Chicago office. He serves on the Los Angeles Regional Board of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle and on the Los Angeles and Medill committees for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. Freedman is also a member of the Coachella Valley Alumni Club and Medill Club of Southern California.

Freedman has generously supported several Northwestern programs over the years and throughout the "We Will" Campaign, including the Medill and Northwestern annual funds, Northwestern University Gay and Lesbian Alumni (NUGALA), The Daily Northwestern and student scholarships. Long active in the LGBT legal movement, he made a gift in 2011 to establish the Medill Equal Media Project, which funds student reporting on LGBT issues. He is a member of NU Loyal, Northwestern's giving society recognizing consistent annual giving to the University, and the Henry and Emma Rogers Society, which recognizes those who have included Northwestern in their estate plans.

The funds raised through the “We Will” Campaign are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidify the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities.