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RJI Dedication

Posted by amseibel8 on September 13, 2008

So walking to RJI, I’ll admit, I was confused. I had never seen this building before, where is it? What is exactly is this dedication about? Maybe it was my lingering fatigue from my two-day migrane I had that caused my confusion, but as I was walking, suddenly…Oh, yeah, that must be it…

Hundreds of people trickling in and out of the building, the futuristic, amazing architecture of the building in front of me, yeah this was probably it. I noticed the sign outside of it, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Wow, okay so this is where I’m going to be studying journalism for the next for years? Not bad.

So what is this dedication going to be like? I had no idea. To be honest, it really just clicked in my head that this is the opening of this institute. Again, the fatigue taking over. So anyways, who are all of these people here? Looking around, I notice a lot of students, a lot of alumni, and a lot of people sitting in the front in chairs, who I assume are the celebrities and the important alumni we’ve been hearing about (later on I’ll find out that I’m right).

Right away I noticed the architecture and the structure of the building I was in. It was amazing: glass walls, glass podium, multiple levels, an upper level walkway, crisp, clean, newly painted, white walls. It’s very modern looking. You can also see the lower level, complete with dozens of new Mac computers. I am informed that this is the Futures Lab. It looks awesome. Just looking around is exciting.

The ceremony is pretty short. Dean Mills (Dean of Mizzou Journalism School) introduces everyone and gets the ceremony going. He used the “modern, light, open interior” to describe the hope and inspiration for RJI. The second speaker was actually the most inspirational for me. Lauren Zima (President of MU Journalism Scholars) spoke of her experience as a student and the ways they have paid off. She had just come back from a study abroad program also. Adult speakers are good, and in this ceremony they were fantastic, but Lauren really touched me because watching an actual student speak about how she was actually following her dreams, thanks to the J-School, gave me a lot of joy and excitement. She continued to talk about the new technology that will be available at RJI and that will make our J-School even better. Seriously, if you’re a J-School student, let me just tell you, you should be VERY excited to go here.

More speakers continued to come up. Pam Johnson (Executive Director of RJI) introduced a video featuring different people in the journalism world (who were all present, some also work here) who talked about their amazing goals to advance journalism, as technology is also advancing. They also talked about renewing the journalist creed for the new century. All of the goals they were talking about were basically revolving around changing journalism with the changing technology, and to use technology to figure out how people want to get their news.

After the video, the speakers kept getting bigger and better. First the Chancellor of MU came up, Brady Deaton. He said a quote that was my favorite throughout the entire ceremony. In regards to the new institute and all of us who will be roaming its halls, he said, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” And he is very right. Us journalism students need to step up, but with RJI I have a feeling it won’t be too hard or painful.

President Gary Forsee, Cheryl Walker, Mayor of Columbia Darwin Hindman, Governor of Missouri Matt Blunt, and finally Fred W. Smith all spoke with fantastic and exciting eloquence. As a teenager still, I get bored easy. And I can honestly tell you, they really were great speakers, not to mention these are very important people. After all spoke, Dean Mills, the Governor, and Fred W. Smith walked to right in front of where I was standing (I had no idea I had such a prime standing spot) to something covered in a black cloth. They unveiled it, a statue of Donald Reynolds, symbolizing the dedication of RJI. Now, the rush to the cooler of Tiger Stripe over in the corner!

Pretty darn cool, I must say. All of you J-School students should be extremely excited to come to RJI. I had no idea about it until I went to the dedication, so I imagine that none of you have even seen it yet. Trust me, though, it’s amazing.

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“A Bright Start for the Second Century”: The Dedication of the Reynolds Journalism Institute

Posted by Cassandra Kamp on September 12, 2008

If you’ve happened to traipse by Francis Quadrangle on the University of Missouri campus anytime in the past five years, you may have noticed a hulking monster of a construction site consuming the northern half of the quad. But recently, the mess has disappeared! No more chain-link fences! Not a single “Pardon our Progress” placard! Construction is complete, and we are left with the newest addition to Mizzou’s campus: The Reynolds Journalism Institute. And, if you were lucky enough to wander in from Ninth Street at around 4:00 p.m. today, you would have witnessed a milestone in the University’s history: the dedication of this new landmark.

As soon as you enter, the entire building is humming. A jazz ensemble cooly plays in a corner. Students, faculty, and alumni fill the entire floor, making navigation almost impossible without a few “Excuse me”s. If you need a moment to sit down, upstairs is silent in comparison and offers a variety of modern chairs (if you can call them chairs) to rest in. Back downstairs and down the hall, in the Frank Lee Martin Memorial Library, a handful of dedicated students study, seemingly oblivious to the major event occuring just twenty yards away.

Not too long after 4:00, a procession of Journalism and University big-wigs file out of the library. Among them: J-school Associate Dean Brian Brooks, University Chancellor Brady Deaton, RJI Executive Director Pam Johnson, and a host of others. Dean Mills, the Dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, steps up to the podium, while student volunteers hoist “Quiet, Please” signs a la the PGA. Mills begins the ceremony with a few words, and hands the podium over to the speakers at the ceremony.

The speakers, in order, were: Lauren Zima, President of the Missouri Scholars Association; Pam Johnson, Executive Director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute; Brady Deaton, Chancellor of the University of Missouri; Gary Forsee, President of the University of Missouri System; Cheryl Walker, Chair of the Board of Directors; Darwin Hindman, Mayor of Columbia; Matt Blunt, Governor of Missouri; and Fred Smith, Chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Immediately following the speeches, each with its share of thoughtful insight and appropriate humor, Governor Blunt and Fred Smith ceremonially unveiled the bust of Donald W. Reynolds that sits inside the main lobby of the RJI. Afterwards, in true Missouri fashion, Tiger Stripe ice cream was served, and the crowd slowly disseminated into the Columbia evening.

The overall message that left with the audience seemed to be the words of Chancellor Brady Deaton: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Indeed, the Reynolds Journalism Institute is a huge gift to the University of Missouri, and when combined with the dedicated faculty and bright students of Mizzou, it is certain ti improve the overall quality of journalism as a profession.

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Celebrating the Dedication of the RJI

Posted by Nick Gass on September 12, 2008

Upon entering the state-of-the-art Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute for the first time, I was overwhelmed with the incredibly open and welcoming architecture and plasma screens that dotted the foyer. I made my way through the crowd and found a seat next to Don Ranly, professor emeritus (PhD ’73) at the School of Journalism. It was my privilege to sit next to him and share a conversation about this challenging, yet exciting time in the profession. While the large crowd of people often made it difficult to see the speaker, I heard and absorbed everything, from Dean Mills’ opening remarks to the unveiling of the Donald W. Reynolds bust. It reminded me, as a freshman, why I chose the University of Missouri. Sure, being a native St. Louisan, it was a rather easy choice, but it reinvigorated my natural curiosity for the craft. As Dr. Ranly so wonderfully noted, I picked a great time to be here.

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