What an announcement to wake up to for the Illinois Media Undergraduates. The 7.5 million dollar contribution is by far the largest in the history of the College of Media.
Thanks to an extremely generous donation from Rich and Leslie Frank, the College of Media will soon be upgrading many of its classroom spaces and will establish the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media. While the gift is given to the entire college, the money will be spent primarily in an effort to improve the journalism program. A portion of the donation has already been announced to be dedicated to creating two new, high-tech classrooms in Gregory Hall, the home of the College of Media programs and their academic advisory program, and to upgrading the Richmond Studio to a state-of-the-art level broadcasting facility.
Richard Frank is a former president of Disney Studios and a University of Illinois alumnus and his wife, Leslie, is a retired Emmy winning Broadcast journalist. The two are now vintners and hospitality leaders in Napa Valley, California where they own and operate one of the most successful family-run wineries in the region.
“Now more than ever there is a critical need for good, solid, objective journalism in this country,” said Rich and Leslie Frank. “We are encouraged our contribution will help create the highest level of learning for the next generation of journalists and that we are able to play a part in elevating the stature of the program at Illinois, making it a top destination for students and faculty.”
“The opportunity this gift provides to our students who are pursuing careers in media is phenomenal,” said Illinois Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “The passion Rich has for his alma mater and his vast industry experience have combined perfectly with Leslie’s broadcast news experience to create a center that will become the perfect ecosystem for budding journalists and media professionals at Illinois.”