Merrill j-school announces Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism

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The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland says the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism “will be a primary resource for research and debate in the public discussion of sports and society.” It’s named for the late Washington Post sports writer and columnist who died in 1998 at age 92 on the day he wrote his last column. The center is made possible by a $1 million challenge gift from Povich’s three children.

Press release

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland today announced creation of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, to expand its highly popular sports news program into a national leader in sports journalism education.

Named for the late Washington Post sports writer and columnist Shirley Povich, the Center will be a primary resource for research and debate in the public discussion of sports and society. “Most important, the center will serve as a launching pad for students to learn, actively participate in and develop the journalistic skills they need to meet the challenges facing them as the next generation of sports journalists,” said George Solomon, the former Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor for Sports who will become the Center’s director.

The center is made possible by a $1 million challenge gift from Povich’s children, Maury, Lynn and David.

“Sports coverage is a dynamic growth area for journalists, serving avid sports followers who use every form of media to share, understand, and learn about life from sports,” said Kevin Klose, dean of the Merrill College. “The Shirley Povich Center will become a major force in the College’s role as a leader among the nation’s elite journalism institutions as it serves Shirley’s memory and extends his legacy for generations to come.”

Povich, who died in 1998 on the day he wrote his last column at the age of 92, worked for The Washington Post for 75 years as a sports columnist and sports editor. He was an eyewitness to many of the most significant sporting events of the 20th century and well- known for his erudite writing and reporting that often examined questions of race, religion and gender.

The University of Maryland maintains the collections of Mr. Povich, including memorabilia, the documentary “Mornings with Shirley Povich,” personal papers and work from his career at The Washington Post.

ABOUT THE NEW POVICH CENTER FOR SPORTS JOURNALISM
The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland is a natural broadening of the great success of the Shirley Povich Chair in Sports Journalism. The Center will become a resource for journalists, academics and the public who want to explore the complex role of sports in society.

Director George Solomon, professor of the practice at the Philip Merrill College since 2003, was assistant managing editor for sports at The Washington Post from 1975-2003. Solomon was the first Shirley Povich Professor when the Povich Chair was established in 2007. He was succeeded in 2008 by columnist Kevin Blackistone, a panelist on ESPN’s “Around-the-Horn,’’ who moves to a faculty position.

The Povich Center’s advisory board is comprised of leading journalists, educators, and sports professionals to support and help guide its work. Members include: New York Giants former general manager Ernie Accorsi; Maryland director of athletics Kevin Anderson; Sports Blog Nation CEO Jim Bankoff; ESPN commentator Bonnie Bernstein ’92; WJLA-TV vice president of sports Tim Brant ’73; USA Today columnist Christine Brennan; NFL Special Assistant to the Commissioner Joe Browne; Newseum Trustee Shelby Coffey; NBC host Bob Costas; CBS-TV/ Sports Illustrated sports journalist Seth Davis; ESPN vice president & director of news Vince Doria; Washington Post editor at large Leonard Downie Jr.; Alicia Patterson Foundation director Margaret Engel; PBS ombudsman Michael Getler; The Sporting News editor-in-chief Garry Howard; columnist and author David Kindred; ESPN reporter/analyst Tim Kurkjian ’78; author and journalist Jane Leavy; radio/television commentator Kojo Nnamdi; Maury Povich; David Povich; Lynn Povich; New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden; Comcast-Spectator vice- president of public relations Ike Richman ’88; University of Maryland College Park Foundation chair Harvey Sanders ’72; Philip Merrill College professor Carl Sessions Stepp; ESPN commentator Scott Van Pelt; and ESPN-980 commentator Rick Walker.

ABOUT SHIRLEY POVICH
Shirley Povich was an award-winning reporter and columnist at The Washington Post for 75 years, from 1923 to 1998, one of the most popular and respected writers in 20th century American journalism. He covered hundreds of major sports events throughout the transformation of sports news from daily coverage of major U.S. intercollegiate and professional sports events, to the current era of virtual 24/7 global sports reporting and analysis by traditional news media, and global wireless and internet media.

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