Penn State’s Board of Trustees voted this morning to rename the College of Communications the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications in recognition of a $30 million endowment from Bellisario. The donation is one of the largest gifts in Penn State history and the Board planned a special off-cycle meeting this morning to determine how they would recognize Bellisario for the endowment.
The $30 million will be used to support students and faculty in the College and also fund the establishment of a “state-of-the-art” Donald. P. Bellisario Media Center, which will be housed in Willard and completed by 2018. The Media Center, according to a press release, will include television studios, student media operations, and resources for film and video production. Funding will be set aside for a scholarship for students in the College of Communications, with preference given to undergraduate students who are veterans or active-duty servicemen and women.
“It is an honor to give my support and name to the College of Communications,” Bellisario said at the announcement this morning. “Under the guidance of Dean Marie Hardin, these new facilities, faculty chairs, and student scholarships will assure there is no limit to what future graduates of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications can achieve.”
Bellisario, who graduated from Penn State in 1961 with a degree in journalism, went on to become a well-known writer, producer, and director of popular shows including “Magnum P.I.,” “Quantum Leap” and “NCIS.” He started at Penn State in 1953 but put his degree on pause for four years to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Donald P. Bellisario ranks among Penn State’s most accomplished alumni, and his achievements and generosity will continue to inspire our students and faculty for generations to come,” President Eric J. Barron said in a press release. “Through this historic gift, the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications will have the resources to support future media pioneers as they pursue the same innovation, excellence, and integrity that have characterized Don’s own career.”
Bellisario and his wife, Vivienne, previously donated $1 million for the creation of the Donald P. Bellisario Trustee Scholarship, which has benefitted 350 students. The renaming of the College of Communications will make it the third named academic college at Penn State, in addition, of course, to Smeal (College of Business) and Eberly (College of Science). If you’re looking for the College of Comm on Twitter, it’s already rebranded: @PSUBellisario.