$500,000 gift establishes financial-journalism endowment
During a time when financial news is dominating front pages of newspapers and newscasts, an alumnus of the University of South Carolina has established an endowment to enhance the teaching and learning of business and financial journalism.
Columbia native and 1949 alumnus Kenneth W. Baldwin Jr. has given a $500,000 gift to the university’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications to establish the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Endowment Fund. It is the school’s largest gift to date that is aimed at teaching and learning.
University officials announced the gift Monday (March 30) prior to a panel discussion on financial journalism that was to take place as part of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies’ I-Comm Week.
“I was thrilled last fall to learn of Ken’s interest in establishing this gift,” said Dr. Carol Pardun, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “We could not have realized at the time how truly timely its purpose would be given the current economic climate.
“Financial literacy is integral to an informed citizenry, especially in today’s uncertain times,” she said. “We will be forever grateful for Ken Baldwin’s foresight, passion and commitment to our students, and we look forward to seeing how his generosity will positively impact our school in the years to come.”
Distinguished journalism career
Baldwin, a former business editor and executive at the Norfolk, Va.-based Landmark Communications media company, said he established the endowment to help sharpen young journalists’ understanding of and reporting on business and financial matters and the impact of those matters on consumers and taxpayers.
“Journalists today need business savvy and must have the tenacity to ask the right questions and dig deeper in filling their watchdog role,” said Baldwin, who retired in 1986 from Landmark and lives in Blythewood.
The income generated from the endowment will provide students with training that will support research, symposia, lecturers, visiting professors, student assistantships and related programs.
Baldwin credits his passion for journalism to Carolina English professor Dr. Havilah Babcock, who instilled a love and appreciation for language and grammar.
“What I learned from Professor Babcock, I have used throughout my life,” Baldwin said. “He was a wonderful professor. I’ve been very blessed, in particular by the growth and success of Landmark and The Weather Channel.”
'Growing and staying releveant'
Student reaction to the endowment was positive as they recognize the growing need for investigative reporting on the significant and complex business and financial topics.
“It is reassuring, as a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, to see our school growing and staying relevant to the market and that alumni valued their experience at the University of South Carolina enough to give back to the current students, helping prepare us for the professional world,” said Jenna Marie Lindberg, a senior from Richmond, Va., majoring in public relations.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers undergraduate majors in advertising, public relations, electronic journalism, print journalism and visual communications. Graduate degree programs include a master of arts, a master of mass communications and a doctorate. The school has particular strengths in the areas of media convergence and science and health communication.
About Kenneth W. Baldwin Jr.
- Education: South Carolina Class of 1949, journalism graduate
- Military: Army Air Corps in World War II
- Professional: WACA radio in Camden, SC, The Associated Press, Greenwood (SC) Index-Journal, The Columbia (SC) Record, WCOS-AM-FM-TV, Columbia, SC and Landmark Communications (Norfolk, VA, and Greensboro, NC)
- Personnel and human resources: Personnel Director of Landmark's Greensboro News & Record after earlier positions in both personnel and news in Norfolk
- Read a profile of Baldwin