Why We Give: 100 years

Why We Give: 100 years

Why We Give

The Hubbard School wouldn’t be what it is today without a century of generous giving from alumni and local media giants.


The Hubbard Family
The Hubbard family has been transforming media for 100 years, ever since a 26-year-old named Stanley E. Hubbard launched a tiny Twin Cities radio station with little more than hustle and grit. That small seed grew into a media giant. The Hubbards have been making ground-breaking advances in media and journalism for nearly a century: Stanley E. Hubbard developed the first-ever advertising-supported radio station, and decades later, his son, Stanley S. Hubbard anticipated and developed major opportunities in satellite newsgathering. Today, Hubbard family members run portions of Hubbard Broadcasting, which encompasses dozens of radio and television stations, along with other ventures, including the cable network Reelz. In 2000, the Hubbard family made a transformational gift of $10 million to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the School’s largest-ever gift. The gift made a difference to every student who’s been through the School since then. Hubbard-funded scholarships and fellowships have supported many undergraduate and graduate students. The Hubbard support has been a rare and precious type of philanthropy: restriction-free. That flexibility has allowed the School to invest in faculty retention packages, set up packages for newly hired faculty, match other donor gifts, and make infrastructure improvements.

William Murphy

William J. Murphy
William James Murphy bought the Minneapolis Tribune in 1891. He revised its business management as well as its editorial methods; he brought it through the financial crises of 1893 and 1907, as well as a disastrous fire in 1899. He modernized its equipment, bringing to Minneapolis the first Mergenthaler typesetting machines and other innovations. Under his management the three Tribunes—morning, evening and Sunday—developed with the state and the Northwest, and maintained a leading voice in the public affairs region. At his death in 1918, Murphy provided in his will for the “W.J. Murphy Endowment Fund for a School of Journalism… for the establishing and maintaining… of instruction in journalism” at the University of Minnesota. In 1940, Murphy Hall opened as the School’s home.


Otto & Helen Silha
In 1984, Otto and Helen Silha gave $350,000, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave $100,000 in honor of Otto Silha, to establish the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, which leads the School's interest in the ethical responsibilities and legal rights of the mass media in a democratic society. An alum of the School, Otto was the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company’s business manager, general manager and vice president. In 1968, he became executive vice president and publisher, and in 1973, he was elected president. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the company until 1984. He served as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota and was a trustee and senior vice president of the University of Minnesota Foundation. Helen was also a University of Minnesota alum, with a degree in education and was active in many arts and educational organizations throughout her life.


Don & Carole Larson
Don and Carole both graduated from the School—Carole as an undergrad with a B.A. in journalism and Don with a master’s (and a B.A. in economics). However, they didn’t meet until after they were both out in the newspaper world. The two were introduced through a friend and became partners in life and business, going on to own more than eight Minnesota newspapers, plus newspapers in Iowa. They were also joint owners of Sun Newspapers—with newspapers that covered more than 15 suburbs around the Twin Cities—in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Don and Carole have been long-time supporters of the School, having previously established the Don R. and Carole J. Scholarship. After Don died in February 2016, Carole knew she wanted to do something significant in honor of him, and learned of the need for more journalism professors. The Don R. and Carole J. Larson Endowed Professorship was developed with Carole’s generous $1 million gift.


Ray & Doris Mithun
Raymond Mithun (B.A. 1930) was 23 when he co-founded Campbell Mithun with Ralph Campbell in 1933. Just 20 years later, it was the largest advertising agency in Minneapolis. In 1987, Mithun gave $500,000 to support the School’s advertising program. That gift was matched by the University’s Permanent Fund. Mithun’s hope was for the gift to assist in not only drawing well-established faculty to the School, but to also prepare students to enter the local advertising industry. Faculty members who have been named Mithun Chairs include Bill Wells (1992-2000), John Eighmey (2003-2015), and Jisu Huh (currently).


John & Elizabeth Cowles
In 1976, the Cowles endowed $2 million to the School to be used for a Cowles Chair, the Minnesota Journalism Center, and a mid-career fellowship program for journalists interested in media management. Cowles, the retired chairman of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company, said at the time of the gift that he hoped it would “strengthen the University’s role in journalism and journalism education … and elevate the standards of journalism in Minnesota and the nation.” Cowles bought the Minneapolis Star in 1935 and turned it into the largest of the three Minneapolis evening newspapers within a half decade. Elizabeth Cowles was the founder of the Maternal Health League, which became Planned Parenthood in Iowa in the 1930s and was a life member of the NAACP. At the time, the Cowles gift was one of the largest single gifts to be presented to the University of Minnesota.