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Updated 10:00 AM October 31, 2007




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Journalists return to building that launched many careers

Aspiring journalists ask Jim Reische why they should attend U-M since it doesn't have a journalism school. The answer, he notes, is within the culture of the Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building.
Sam Offen, general manager of Stanford Lipsey Student Publications, stands near two new plaques honoring the renovated building's namesake. (Photo by Jillian Bogater)

On Friday, Oct. 26, about 300 alumni — including three Pulitzer Prize winners — were expected to return to dedicate the newly renovated building that helped launch their careers, and celebrate a series of improvements, scholarships and internships to aid future journalists.

Altogether, five Pulitzer winners began their careers in the building, including Stanford Lipsey. Reische, co-chair of the Board for Student Publications, notes that Pulitzer-winning playwright Arthur Miller, legendary photographer Margaret Bourke-White and former New York Gov. (and two-time GOP presidential nominee) Thomas Dewey each worked for The Michigan Daily, the Michiganensian yearbook or the Gargoyle humor magazine.

"It's a great privilege for me to have helped restore the building where so many grew their college experiences into successful professional careers, as so many will in the future," Lipsey says.

Sixty-two years ago Lipsey arrived at 420 Maynard St. to work as a photographer for the student newspaper and yearbook. After leaving U-M, he went on to become a newspaper photographer, writer, editor, business manager and publisher of two newspapers.

On Friday, Lipsey was to announce a $300,000 gift. The gift, which will be matched by the President's Donor Challenge established by President Mary Sue Coleman, will create a $600,000 endowment to fund scholarships for deserving student journalists actively working on a student publication. The proceeds ultimately will enable up to six journalists per year to earn $5,000 scholarships.

Lipsey, publisher of the Buffalo News, also is personally supporting U-M students for internships at his paper.

In 1969 Lipsey sold his Omaha, Neb., papers to famed billionaire investor Warren Buffet and stayed on as publisher. A Berkshire Hathaway vice president, Lipsey has run newspapers in Omaha and since the 1980s in Buffalo, N.Y., where The Buffalo News is now one of the nation's 50 largest newspapers.

In 2005 he donated $3 million to help renovate the Student Publications Building and that gesture helped re-connect him with the place where he got his start.

Combined with gifts from other alumni, including HomeTown Newspapers Inc. founder and former Regent Phil Power, the University raised more than $6 million for renovations, upgrades, nine scholarship funds, a career-enhancement fund linking students and professionals, two publication support funds and plans for a Michigan Daily digital archives.

The building is known for its tiled roof, multi-colored stained glass windows, decorative tile and arched newsroom ceiling. It was built in the early 1930s when the Associated Press operated a news wire on Morse code.

The improvements preserve the building's historic charm and personality by restoring classic details while renewing its infrastructure with new heating, wiring and the addition of air conditioning, and improvements that address accessibility. Some furnishings and equipment in use since the 1950s have been replaced and other improvements created accessible, modern workspaces that include the latest computers and equipment.

For more on Student Publications, go to

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