Jerry Ceppos, a former newspaper industry executive and an adjunct professor at San Jose State University, has been named dean of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.
University President Milton Glick announced today that Ceppos has accepted the Fred W. Smith Chair in Journalism and will begin duties early in 2008. The appointment culminates a vigorous search to identify a new dean for the Reynolds School. Ceppos succeeds Cole Campbell, who was killed in an automobile accident in January 2007.
Ceppos was formerly vice president for news at Knight Ridder, then the nation's second-largest newspaper company.
"Jerry possesses an essential combination of experience, vision, commitment to diversity and credibility and his name carries great recognition among the country's leading journalists," Glick said. "I believe that Jerry's leadership qualities match the spirit of achievement that is evident among the journalism school's faculty, students and staff over the last few years. He will be a major influence in the school's pursuit of excellence in new media, journalism, and public communications."
As Knight Ridder's vice president for news, Ceppos was responsible for the company's Washington and foreign bureaus, administered its news service with hundreds of clients worldwide, identified and recruited top editors and increased diversity in newsrooms.
Ceppos served as executive editor and senior vice president of the San Jose Mercury News, leading a 350-member staff during the paper's climb in rankings of the top 10 newspapers in the country and securing its position as "the newspaper of the Silicon Valley."
During his employment, staff diversity grew from nine percent to more than 30 percent, among the highest in the nation.
Ceppos also played a key role in the development of Nuevo Mundo and Viet Mercury, making the Mercury News the only newspaper to be published in three languages.
In 2002, Ceppos received the Gerald M. Sass Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Mass Communications, the highest honor granted by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Ceppos holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation approved a grant of $1.5 million to establish the permanently endowed dean position named the "Fred W. Smith Chair in Journalism." The chair is named in honor of the current chairman of the Las Vegas-based Reynolds Foundation.
"The earnings from the endowment will give the new dean additional resources to build upon the momentum created by the late Cole Campbell," Smith said. "Our ultimate goal is for the Reynolds School to be recognized for excellence in the areas of education, research and preparation of students for professional practice."
Interim Dean Rosemary McCarthy played an integral role in maintaining operations of the journalism school following the death Cole C. Campbell, the former dean, who died last January.
"We knew it would be challenging to fill the void left by Cole's absence," Glick said. "Rosemary has earned the unqualified appreciation and gratitude from journalism faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends during a period of unprecedented accomplishment, professional distinction, and development success."
McCarthy will return to her former position as the school's academic chair, which she has held since 2005. McCarthy's responsibilities will include advising students and developing class schedules, teaching assignments and curriculum. She will resume teaching and also assist with the school's budget, planning and special events.
The first class of journalism majors graduated in 1924, making the Reynolds School of Journalism one of the oldest accredited journalism schools in the West. The Reynolds School has four endowed chairs – more than any other college or school on campus – including the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Ethics and Critical Thinking, Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Technology, the Paul A. Leonard Chair in Journalist Writing and Ethics, and the newly endowed Fred W. Smith Chair.