Grady College faculty, students, friends and industry partners gathered Thursday, September 29, 2016, to dedicate the office and journalism innovation lab of the The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.
“It is always a great day at Grady when we can come together and celebrate another milestone in the evolution of our college,” dean Charles Davis said. “The Cox Institute has been a virtual organization recognized for its programs, but lacking a physical space. Today, we rectify that by dedicating a facility that will be used to train Grady’s students in the art and science of entrepreneurial journalism and media leadership.”
Located inside Studio 100 on the first floor of the journalism building, the office and innovation lab provide a space for the growing list of programs and activities the Cox Institute hosts throughout the year.
University of Georgia provost Pamela Whitten spoke at the dedication, noting the transformation of the space.
“About three years ago, your dean walked me into some very dark unused space that happens to be right here and said, “Doesn’t it make sense for this to be space assigned to the Grady College? I promise we will use it in ways that will benefit students,’” Whitten said. “It is really a pleasure today to see what you have done with the space.”
Whitten also commended Grady on the college’s dedication to experiential learning opportunities.
“This college has jumped with more enthusiasm, or at least as much as any other, on our deep commitment to privileging the experience of the undergraduate students at the University of Georgia and recognizing that in 2016, so much valuable learning happens outside of the classroom,” Whitten said.
Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, emphasized the institute’s goal of bringing industry and academia together.
“The Cox Institute plans on working with media companies all across the country, but we are doubling down in Georgia where there is such a hotbed of media activity,” Herndon said. “We want to make sure we have close ties to industry and have their input on the skills and training that students need.”
During the dedication, Herndon announced a new partnership with the Atlanta Press Club. The Cox Institute will be the presenting partner in the organization’s annual awards of excellence.
Herndon and Davis thanked individuals and sponsors who support the work of the Cox Institute, including the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation, which was represented at the dedication by Larry Hooks, an Atlanta attorney.
Consumer journalist Bob Sullivan also was recognized for his contributions to the institute’s growth.
“Bob joined our board of advisors two years ago and has been a fountain of ideas and connections for us,” Herndon said.
In 2013, Sullivan was a reporter for NBC’s In Plain Sight: Poverty in America documentary, which won a Peabody Award. At the time, Sullivan received a certificate for his work on the team. At the dedication ceremony, he was given the mounted medallion version of his Peabody to thank him for his work with the Cox Institute.
“Institutes like ours only prosper and grow when we have industry professionals who believe so strongly in our mission like Bob does,” Herndon said.