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Cali Owings, Published September 27 2013

Marcils fund MSUM journalism initiative with $1 million gift

MOORHEAD – A $1 million gift from Forum Communications Co. chairman William C. Marcil and his wife, Jane B. Marcil, will fund a new initiative for journalism education at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

School officials announced the gift Friday during a homecoming event showcasing the university’s four living presidents.

MSUM President Edna Szymanski acknowledged a longstanding “symbiotic relationship” between the school’s mass communication department and Forum Communications Co.

In addition to the number of Moorhead graduates who have gone on to work for the media company, the Marcils, on behalf of their family and the company, have long supported journalism education at MSUM, she said.

Szymanski said the center will be a place for students, faculty and working professionals to collaborate “side-by-side on how to prepare new generations of journalists.”

“Here is an opportunity to get into a new phase of training journalists,” William Marcil said on stage inside the Roland Dille Center for the Arts.

Marcil said the center will provide students with the skills to excel after graduation in the rapidly evolving industry.

He also said he hoped the company’s partnership with MSUM would be a model for other educational institutions and media organizations.

A three-person steering committee headed by Forum Communications Company President Lloyd Case will administer the gift and work to establish the center. Tim Borchers, dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Communication, and Marsha Weber, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, will also serve on the committee.

Over the next four years, the donation will fund the startup and ongoing expenses of the center, which could include facilities, scholarships, equipment purchases, creation of new certificate or minor programs, student and faculty research and internships.

In recent years, the Marcil family has made donations of $1 million or more to North Dakota State University, Concordia College and the University of North Dakota.

Jane Marcil is the fourth-generation family owner of Forum Communications Co., which owns newspapers, radio and television stations throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599