Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/07/1995 09:15 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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         SB 134 ATWOOD CHAIR OF JOURNALISM AT U OF AA                        
                                                                               
 Number 003                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social                 
 Services (HESS) Committee work session to order at 9:15 a.m.  She             
 introduced  SB 134  as the first order of business.  She noted that           
 an official meeting would be declared when a quorum arrived.                  
                                                                               
 JOSH FINK, staff to Senator Kelly, stated that Bob Atwood's                   
 contribution to Alaska is immense.  SB 134 honors Mr. Atwood by               
 establishing an endowment for the Robert B. Atwood Journalism Chair           
 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  This Chair which has been             
 nationally recognized has been in existence the past 15 years                 
 through generous personal contributions from Mr. Atwood.  To date,            
 Mr. Atwood's contributions have totalled more than $1 million.  He            
 explained that by establishing this endowment, a mechanism would be           
 in place for both private and public entities to match Mr. Atwood's           
 contributions in order to permanently fund the Chair.                         
                                                                               
 SYLVIA BROADY, Chairman and Professor in the Journalism and Public            
 Communications Department, informed the committee that she had been           
 there for 15 years and has seen what the Chair has done for Alaska            
 and Anchorage students as well as other students around the state.            
 In a time of fiscal cuts, innovative ideas should be used in order            
 to protect pockets of excellence.  Legislators have challenged                
 private money to match their money.  If this could be done at the             
 university level, more academic chairs could be established                   
 throughout the university.  She emphasized that it would be a one             
 time commitment from the state for something that would be                    
 permanent and continuous.  She pointed out that since Mr. Atwood              
 has supported the Chair, many students have graduated and are                 
 working in Alaska in the media.  In conclusion, Ms. Broady                    
 commented that without Mr. Atwood's contributions the program could           
 not have the quality it has and perhaps, the program would not have           
 even been accredited.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 088                                                                    
                                                                               
 SUZAN NIGHTINGALE, Chair of the Professional Advisory Council for             
 the Journalism and Public Communications Department at UAA, felt              
 that the best way to instill budget discipline would be to reward             
 programs that have done the best to maximize public and private               
 partnerships.  The Atwood Chair has a successful 15 year record of            
 private funding.  She emphasized that an endowed Atwood Chair would           
 pay for itself in 10 years and save the state money after that                
 time.  She informed the committee that the Atwood Chair brings the            
 most experienced and seasoned journalists to UAA who works directly           
 with students around the state.  If the Atwood Chair is not funded,           
 the Journalism Department would eventually need a faculty position            
 which brings along all its health and retirement costs.  Mr. Atwood           
 has quietly funded this position for 15 years, but he believes the            
 state should join in the partnership.  Passage of SB 134 would save           
 the state education money in the future as well as setting a                  
 standard for the public and private partnership that Alaska needs;            
 that is budget discipline at its best.                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that a quorum was present.  She stated               
 that she intended to move this bill today.                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved that SB 134 be moved out of committee with                
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      

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