Why We Give: Michael Hill & Barbara Bink

Long-time supporters and frequenters of the Sevareid Library generously give to the School’s renovation project.

One day, when students enter the renovated Murphy Hall lower level and Sevareid Library, they’ll be greeted at the information desk with this message:

Welcome to the Michael E. Hill and Barbara H. Bink Information Desk

‘The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.’ 
—Ida B. Wells

Michael Hill (M.A. ’79), raised in St. Paul, graduated from the School and worked at the Minneapolis Tribune before heading to the East Coast to write and edit for the Washington Post. “Running around putting my name on things is not what I am about, but being able to indicate we supported this renovation, and that somebody from many, many years ago and of another race had something to say that was pertinent today—that appealed,” he said.

Hill and his wife, Bink—who is not an alum but a big sup-porter of libraries—have been donors to the Sevareid Library for years. 

“It became a very lovely waystation,” he said. “I spent a lot of time there, because it was a place to be, in between classes and the office. It was one of my favorite places in Murphy Hall. I appreciated the institutional history reflected there—and the resources.”

He said it’s important to give back to an institution and organization that was helpful to him along the way—not just as an alum, but even as a reader of this very magazine. “I enjoyed the recent issue with the 100-year review, looking back at names and faces I knew when I was on campus. And by realizing how much I gained by my association with them and being a student there. There’s the sense of giving back to the organization that was very formative and important,” he said.  

And, even with all of the industry’s changes and challenges, he said he still believes in good journalism. “Someone who comes through this program can be assured that a certain foundation is in place: Those old standards—the basic standards—of effort and reporting and clarity and the fundamentals of letters and words and sentences and paragraphs still pertain. I’m happy to sup-port that effort, because, I think, in any kind of economic or social environment, what [the j-school] teaches and does will be important.”

And, Hill said, it’s not just the fundamentals: He’s pleased with how the School is leading into the future. “I appreciate the fact that the School has also recognized and embraced modern technology and methods. For all of those reasons, I find it to be a very worthy place to stay in touch, to understand what they’re doing, and to support it as best I can.” The School is turning 100 at a time that is very challenging and demanding of journalism—for technical, social, and political reasons. “While we can all point to many times that are important or pivotal in history, this is also one of them.” 

Ida B. Wells would certainly agree. 

If you’d like to support the renovation of Murphy Hall, please visit z.umn.edu/SupportMurphyHall. If you’re interested in a named gift, please contact Louis Clark IV at [email protected].

By Katie Dohman

Michael Hill and Barbara Bink