Publisher's $3M gift will aid student journalists
Stanford Lipsey arrived at U-M 60 years ago with a passion for taking pictures that landed him photography jobs with the Michiganensian yearbook and student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.
Lipsey, who went on to become publisher of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in Omaha, Neb., and later served as a publisher in Buffalo, N.Y., and business associate of famed investor Warren Buffett, is remembering the Student Publications Building where he once trained with a $3 million gift to renovate, restore and upgrade the 74-year-old landmark.
"It's a privilege to be back at Michigan to help restore the Student Publications Building I worked in 60 years ago," Lipsey says. "Quality journalism enriches all our lives. That is why I am so happy to be part of a process that will take this historic building into the 21st century, with the technology to assist the growth of the students."
The building at 420 Maynard St. is known for its tiled roof, multi-colored stained glass windows, Pewabic tile and arched newsroom ceiling. But it was built at a time when the Associated Press operated a news wire on Morse code and the ballpoint pen was a writing instrument of the future.
Lipsey's gift will support improvements to preserve the building's historic charm and personality, renew its infrastructure with new heating, wiring and the addition of air conditioning, and address accessibility. Some furnishings and equipment in use since the 1950s will be replaced and other improvements will be made to create accessible, modern work spaces.
Lipsey's gift supports The Michigan Difference, the University's $2.5 billion fund-raising campaign.
"Stanford Lipsey experienced The Michigan Difference at an early age, using his opportunities at Michigan to turn a love of photography into an amazingly successful career," President Mary Sue Coleman says. "This generous investment in the future will inspire our students to do their own great work here that will help them develop the media of the 21st century."
Lipsey, who graduated from U-M in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in economics, was a photographer for The Michigan Daily and photography editor for the Michiganensian. He expanded his passion for photography through the decades with exhibits at nine galleries and museums. In 1996, he provided nature photography for a book on the history of the city of Buffalo.
After graduating from U-M, Lipsey served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War as editor of the newspaper at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base. In 1952, he began a long career in his native Omaha, working as a photographer, reporter, editor, publisher and eventually owner of Sun Newspapers.
Lipsey sold Sun Newspapers to Buffett in 1969 but continued as publisher. In 1973, he teamed with Buffett and editor Paul Williams to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting on finances and fundraising at the famed Boys-Town community that was immortalized in a 1938 film classic.
In 1977, Buffett bought The Buffalo Evening News and he and Lipsey began working with the paper's editors. Lipsey moved to Buffalo in 1980 and became publisher in 1982 when the company introduced a morning edition. The News grew to become one of the 50 largest papers in the United States. Lipsey became a vice president of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. in March 1988.
Lipsey's gift to renovate the building fits his love for creativity and cultural institutions, as well as preservation. Lipsey was a founding member of the Martin House Restoration Corp. in Buffalo, which restored Frank Lloyd Wright's largest prairie house.
"This extraordinary gift, along with those from hundreds of Student Publications alumni and friends, will help preserve and restore this very special building, and ensure that future generations of students will have the priceless opportunity to run their own independent publications," says Alan Lenhoff, co-chair of the Board for Student Publications, who heads the magazine publishing division of Detroit Newspaper Partnership.
"Mr. Lipsey's generous contribution is all the more meaningful in that it comes from an alumnus of Student Publications who went on to outstanding achievement in the world of journalism. We are delighted and grateful."