Gift to fund Purdue Institute for Civic Communication

September 5, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A $1 million gift from the Denver-based Daniels Fund will support the new Purdue Institute for Civic Communication for four years.

PICC, housed in the Brian Lamb School of Communication in the university's College of Liberal Arts, is an outgrowth of Project Impact, founded in 2010 to provide students with a mix of activities and forums to cultivate national dialogues on non-partisan issues.

Project Impact was founded by Carolyn Curiel, a clinical professor of communication and former journalist, senior White House aide and U.S. ambassador. Brian Lamb, founder and executive chairman of C-SPAN and a Purdue alumnus, has been her chief collaborator.

"The Purdue Institute for Civic Communication will prepare our students to be leaders in their communities and beyond," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "It is an excellent addition to their career studies."

The Daniels Fund was started by Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television. Bill Daniels (no relation to Mitch Daniels) founded his first cable business in Casper, Wyo., in 1953. He eventually owned and operated hundreds of cable TV systems across the country. The firm he founded - Daniels & Associates (now RBC Daniels) - provides investment-banking services to media and technology companies.

When Bill Daniels died in 2000, his estate transferred to the Daniels Fund, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations and college scholarships to students in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, as well as supporting programs with a national impact.

"We are fortunate and honored that the Daniels Fund has chosen to help PICC build on Project Impact's momentum to make an even broader mark on the futures of its student participants," Curiel said. "We feel certain that a civic engagement program that develops in young people a fuller appreciation for the American system and ideals fulfills the mission Bill Daniels set for his philanthropic work.

"An enhanced partnership with C-SPAN will allow PICC to incorporate technology to bring down walls, open access to students nationally and realize students' aspirations," she said.

Linda Childears, Daniels Fund president and CEO, said, "Bill Daniels was deeply patriotic. When he spoke to students, he often reminded them of the reasons he willingly risked his life defending the cause of freedom in two wars.

"As he established the Daniels Fund, Bill directed us to support programs in our Youth Development funding area that build character and provide the necessary life skills young people need to become engaged citizens."

Hallmarks of PICC will be student participation, learning experiences and opportunities that nurture the next generation of engaged citizens at home, while building relationships with growing numbers of international students who will develop a better understanding of the United States.

PICC's first event will be an energy forum focusing on fossil fuels, renewable energy and Purdue research while featuring nationally known scientists, industry leaders and journalists.

A New Energy Future, sponsored by PICC and Bloomberg View, will be from 1:30-6 p.m. Sept. 13 in Stewart Center's Loeb Hall. It is free and open to the public.

The event will feature two panel discussions and a Brian Lamb interview with Michael Eskew, UPS director and former chairman and CEO.

More information on the forum is available at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/energy-forum,-new-name-kick-off-student-civic-communication-group.html

Since its inception as Project Impact, PICC has helped students across the university sharpen their critical thinking and communication skills and build professional networks as they produced forums featuring historians, government officials, journalists, media executives and successful practitioners in their fields of interest. So far, 44 students from fields as varied as communication and nuclear engineering have been selected to participate in the program's annual class in Washington, D.C., in May. Many more students have played a role in planning and executing the forums and other activities.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Carolyn Curiel, curiel@purdue.edu

Lori Sparger, College of Liberal Arts director of advancement, 765-494-9314, lsparger@purdue.edu

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