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Mutz Chair

John M. Mutz Chair in Local News

The John M. Mutz Chair in Local News was established in 2020 by Medill alumnus John M. Mutz (BSJ57, MSJ58). The Mutz Chair was supported in part by alumni Patrick G. (Kellogg59, Honorary09) and Shirley W. Ryan (Weinberg61, Honorary19) through the Ryan Family Chair Challenge, which matches gifts made by other Northwestern supporters to establish new endowed professorships, or chairs, across a wide range of disciplines.

The endowed chair focuses on local news sustainability. It advances the work of the Medill Local News Initiative, an innovative research and development project that provides greater understanding of how digital audiences engage with local news and finds new approaches to bolster local news business models.

In 2017, Mutz took part in discussions with the Medill administration that led to the creation of the Medill Local News Initiative. His generous financial support and help in securing funding from other partners was instrumental to the program’s launch.

Mutz earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Medill in 1957 and 1958. He also participated in the Medill Cherubs program for high school journalism students in the summer of 1952. Mutz’s daughter, Diana, is a 1984 graduate of the School of Communication, and his son, Mark, graduated from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1983. Two of Mutz’s grandchildren are also Northwestern alumni: Fletcher, who graduated from Weinberg College in 2017, and Maria, who graduated with a joint degree from the McCormick School of Engineering and Bienen School of Music in 2020.

Mutz is a business leader and politician who served as lieutenant governor of Indiana, Republican candidate for governor and president of Lilly Endowment Inc., one of the world’s largest private foundations. Mutz also served as president of PSI Energy, Indiana’s largest utility (now Duke Energy).

Medill Senior Associate Dean and Professor Tim Franklin is the inaugural holder of the John M. Mutz Chair. Franklin is the leader of the Medill Local News Initiative.