During their lifetimes, Paul and Gwen Leonard generously supported the University and the Reynolds School of Journalism. Their daughter, Rev. Jackie Leonard, has fulfilled their final bequest to establish two gifts within the journalism school. The $3.17 million endowment will fund the Paul A. Leonard Chair in Ethics and Writing in Journalism and the Paul A. and Gwen F. Leonard Memorial Scholarship. The gifts were announced, May 8, at the School of Journalism's annual student awards banquet.
"In this day of questionable business practices, ethics violations of many kinds, and common conflicts of interest, Paul Leonard would insist that it is more critical than ever that every journalist have unimpeachable integrity and a highly developed code of ethics," Leonard said. "Good journalism schools cannot neglect teaching writing and ethics if they are to graduate good journalists."
This gift comes at an opportune time for the school. Last January, Dean Cole Campbell died following a single-vehicle accident in Reno. The Reynolds School of Journalism is beginning the search process for a new dean.
"This is an important gift for the school and it will help in the recruitment of a new dean. It creates opportunities for the new leader to shape the curriculum, the faculty and the future of the journalism school," said Jannet Vreeland, University vice provost and interim dean.
"Even before recruitment of a new dean became necessary, the journalism school was pursuing a vision of innovation in new media, technology, and critical thinking and ethics," Vreeland said. "This gift will provide an even greater foundation for ethics and quality writing that is fundamental to this school's success."
President Milt Glick praised the Leonards' support. "All great universities build on great faculty and students. But this school, more than any other, has been built on and has benefited from the support of alumni and contributors who ensure that quality journalism will continue to have an impact in the academic curriculum and industry."
"The journalism school continues to receive gratifying and unwavering support," Vreeland said. "The Reynolds Foundation has endowed two chairs, one in media technologies and another in critical thinking and ethical practices. The foundation has established a technologies endowment, which distinguishes the Reynolds School from other journalism schools, and it sponsored the school's inaugural Journalism Week."
The conference titled "Think. Invent. Act: A conversation at the Reynolds School of Journalism," explored technology, ethics and the future of journalism during the Reynolds School of Journalism's first Journalism Week. Journalists representing Gannett, ESPN, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NBC News, and Associated Press participated in the event sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in association with The Fred W. Smith Ethics Seminar Series.
"We are honored to have earned the Leonards support and commitment to a quality journalism school," said Rosemary McCarthy, academic chair for the Reynolds School of Journalism. "The Paul A. Leonard Chair in Ethics and Writing in Journalism and the Paul A. and Gwen F. Memorial Scholarship will provide in perpetuity the ability to attract the highest caliber faculty and students that will garner national recognition for the school."
Paul Leonard, a University journalism graduate in 1936, started his career as a reporter at the Elko Daily Free Press. After military service during World War II, Leonard became editor of the Ely Daily Times. He joined the Reno Evening Gazette and later became editor of the Nevada State Journal, where he remained until his retirement in 1972. The papers merged, under the Spiedel Corporation, as the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1977.
The University named Leonard a Distinguished Nevadan in 1971.
Gwen Leonard, graduated from the University in 1937, and was a patron on the arts and a member of numerous community organizations. She received the University's President's Medal in 1989.
Gwen Leonard established several endowments at the University including the Professor James Hulse Scholarship in History, the Leonard Endowment for Philosophy, and in the journalism. The endowed chair has been renamed in honor of Paul and Gwen Leonard.