Last month, former CBS news anchorman and Sam Houston State University alumni, Dan Rather, donated two million dollars to his alma mater.
In the largest single donation the University has ever seen, Rather and his wife, Jean, made the contribution through a newly created campaign used to upgrade academic standards as well as enhance the campus of SHSU.
After more than a month has past, many students are wondering, “Where’s the money?”
“One million dollars is going to create an undergraduate scholarship program,” said Frank Holmes, Vice President of University Advancement. “The other one million dollars will be used at the Presidents’ digression. My guess at this point, the money will be used for a Chair Position or a professorship or two.”
While donating money to a university takes a little time to get where it is going to be used, Holmes assures students that the monetary gift will be spent where it is needed and it will not be directed in a final way until Rather approves.
“The money Dan Rather donated is already in the University’s account,” Holmes said. “Our job now is to write up two University Endowment Records and have Rather approve each one before we send the money in a particular direction.”
During a recent interview, Rather stated that numerous people helped him achieve his goals while he attended Sam Houston State, and he hoped to someday have the opportunity to give something back.
As a native Houstonian, Rather earned a bachelors degree in Journalism in 1953 and by 1963, was already working as a reporter for CBS.
Taking the skills learned at SHSU, Rather later became an anchor for “The CBS Evening News” as well as hosting various other prime-time shows.
During his career, Rather reported on many incidents such as President Kennedy’s assassination, as well as wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Throughout his 50 years as a journalist, Rather is known as one of the most prominent journalists of all time.
In 1994, Rather was honored by Sam Houston State when the communications building took his name.
Rather’s recent monetary gift is not the first SHSU has seen. Every year since 1998, Rather has hosted semester-long internships at CBS in New York allowing students to see what he does first hand.
Because of Rathers’ generous gift, many mass communication students who are in need of monetary help will benefit from various scholarships that will now be available.
During a previous address to the University, President Gaertner said he hopes to have Dan Rather and his family visit the campus to show him the kind of appreciation he deserves for his generous donation.