Campus News

$1 million gift funds creation of sports journalism program

Welch Suggs

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is establishing a program in sports journalism thanks to a major gift from the John Huland Carmical Foundation Inc. It will be the only program of its kind in the Southeast.

A gift and pledge agreement totaling $1 million from Atlanta’s Carmical Foundation will fund the creation of a Chair in Sports Journalism and Society. The ­appointment of a chair anticipates the development of an interdisciplinary Center for Sports Journalism and Society.

“The Grady College has a rich history of producing some of the finest sports journalists in the industry. As journalism moves more deeply into digital and multimedia formats, there is increasing need for reporters and writers who can dig deeply into the economic, political and societal aspects of sports,” said E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the Grady College. “We will instill the same ethical standards and social responsibility in sports journalism classes that we encourage in all fields of journalistic inquiry and reporting.”

“This has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Conrad Fink, the Morris Chair of Journalism in the Grady College and a leader in the years-long effort to plan and fund the sports journalism program. “Training in sports journalism is desperately needed.

“Sports journalists today have to know a lot more than just who scored touchdowns,” he also said. “They’re also called on to explain complex labor negotiations and contract law, as in the ongoing labor dispute between players and team owners in the National Football League, and deal with medical issues such as the long-term brain injuries that football players suffer from repeated concussions.”

College administrators also announced that Welch Suggs will serve a one-year appointment during the 2011-2012 academic year. He will teach courses in journalism and work with the faculty to recruit a nationally recognized figure in sports journalism as the inaugural holder of the Carmical Chair.
Suggs currently serves in the Office of the President, where he is the administration’s liaison with the Athletic Association, among other duties. Before coming to UGA, Suggs worked at The Kansas City Star, Dallas Business Journal, SportsBusiness Journal and The Chronicle of Higher Education, where he served as assistant editor and senior editor covering athletics. In 2005, Suggs authored A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX, published by Princeton University Press.

“Welch Suggs has established himself as a leader in the academy and as a journalist in the field of sports,” said Kent Middleton, head of Grady’s department of journalism. “His inside knowledge of athletics and its role in higher education will be invaluable to the faculty and students of Grady College.”