Texas Southern Names Communications School
For Talk Show Host Tavis Smiley
Texas Southern University unveiled a new building housing its school of communications in September, renaming the school for talk show host Tavis Smiley.
University President Priscilla Slade said the center will house all communications, journalism, speech and telecommunications programs at the historically Black university.
Slade said Smiley, who hosts daily shows on NPR and PBS, was a natural choice when it came to renaming the center because of what he “means to young people and new generations of emerging journalists and media professionals.” She cited his “time-proven integrity demonstrated throughout the years.”
“I was completely shocked and overwhelmed,” Smiley said of the dedication, which occurred on his 40th birthday. “Usually this type of honor comes toward the end of one’s professional life and not in the middle.”
The university approached Smiley in June about naming its communications school for him.
“We explained to Tavis that there were no strings attached,” Slade said. “This was not a traditional solicitation by our development office for a named gift opportunity.”
Smiley, however, opted to donate $1 million. He also will assist the center by providing training internships for students with The Smiley Group, which is the Los Angeles-based parent company for a number of communications companies and a foundation Smiley oversees.
“It was the chance to be an active, hands-on part of a living and dynamic institution,” Smiley said of his involvement with Texas Southern. “It will also ensure that others interested in using the media to empower, enlighten and offer diverse viewpoints on important issues in our lives will be supported for decades to come.”
— Associated Press
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