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Cronkite School leaders establish endowed scholarships

ASU students studying at the Cronkite School
February 26, 2014

Four leaders of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are establishing new permanent scholarships to assist Arizona State University undergraduates pursuing journalism and digital communications careers.

The four scholarships are endowed by Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees President David Bodney, Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees immediate past president John Misner, Cronkite National Board of Advisors Chair and ASU Trustee Craig A. Newman and Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan.

The gifts are part of a new ASU scholarship program that offers matching funds on significant contributions for 10 years and begins distributing scholarship help to students immediately.

“What an honor it is for the Cronkite School to add four new endowed scholarships,” said Liz M. Bernreuter, Cronkite School director of development. “These gifts, from four of the school’s most active leaders, speak volumes about the passion and commitment of our board members and dean. It is our intention as well that these newly established endowments will serve as a launching point for a concentrated effort by the school to increase scholarship support for outstanding students with financial need.”

The Sarah and David Bodney First Amendment Scholarship recognizes that an informed and educated public is essential to democracy. The scholarship is intended to facilitate the academic achievement of a Cronkite student whose work demonstrates a commitment to responsible, vigorous reporting on matters of public concern, especially the accountability of the powerful and the rights of the vulnerable.

David Bodney is a partner at the Phoenix law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP. With more than 30 years of legal experience, he practices media and constitutional law at Steptoe. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at both the Cronkite School and ASU’s Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. Sarah Bodney left the practice of law in London to raise their children, and volunteers for various local nonprofits.

“At the Cronkite School, this scholarship will enable a new generation of journalists to keep the tradition of responsible reporting alive in our communities for many years to come,” David Bodney said. “Nothing less than the future of journalism and government accountability are at stake.”

The John Misner and Angela Astore Misner New American University Scholarship is given to a student who has the passion to excel at the Cronkite School, yet lacks the financial means to attend college. The Misners hope that upon graduation, the scholarship recipient is committed to using his or her journalism education to focus attention on issues affecting their community’s well-being and, when able to do so, make his or her own financial contributions to the school.

John Misner, an ASU graduate himself, is the chief operating officer of Republic Media and general manager of 12 News/KPNX-TV. He played a key leadership role in the merger of three news platforms – television, newspaper and online – at Republic Media, the largest media organization in Arizona. His wife, Angela Astore Misner, is a former television anchor and reporter at CNN, KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul and in two California markets.

The Misners said they want to do their part to ensure that financial means don’t prevent an ambitious high school graduate from earning a Cronkite School degree.

The Susan M. Newman and Craig A. Newman Family New American University Scholarship is made based on the principle that a free press is indispensably necessary to an informed citizenry in a democratic society. The scholarship was established to support a deserving student who is committed to pursuing scholarship at the intersection of journalism and the First Amendment.

Craig A. Newman, a 1979 ASU graduate, is the managing partner of Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP, the New York-based law firm. Newman has more than 25 years of experience as a litigator, general counsel and corporate executive. He also serves as the CEO of the Freedom2Connect Foundation, a nonprofit that collaborates with Radio Free Asia to promote global Internet freedom through the development and implementation of open source technology. His wife, Susan M. Newman, is a partner in a New York-based design firm and is an avid supporter of the Cronkite School.

“One of the greatest gifts that we can give is to provide educational opportunities that otherwise would not exist,” Craig A. Newman said. “These scholarships open the door for deserving students to embrace all that ASU and the Cronkite School have to offer.”

The Jean and Christopher Callahan Family Maroon and Gold Leaders Scholarship is intended to help aspiring journalists in the years to come study at Cronkite to learn the critical values of great journalism, the skills and techniques required in an ever-changing digital world and the pivotal role of journalism in democracy. (More information: Maroon and Gold Leaders Giving program.)

Christopher Callahan is the Cronkite School’s founding dean and vice provost of the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. During his tenure, he has led the planning of the school’s move to a state-of-the-art journalism facility and brought prestigious national programs to the Cronkite School. His wife, Jean Callahan, is a human resources executive in the Valley.

“With the rising cost of a college education, donor support is critical in assisting students receiving a journalism education at Cronkite,” Christopher Callahan said. “Donor support allows us to continue our mission of fostering journalistic ethics and excellence among our students.”

The need for financial assistance continues to grow. Between 2002-2012 the demand for Pell Grants – federal funds that support students in need – at ASU increased by 182 percent, from 9,238 to 26,074.

ASU and the ASU Foundation have established a scholarship matching program, which allows donors to see an immediate impact to their giving. Through the New American University Scholarship Matching Program, ASU will match 6 percent of an endowed scholarship commitment of $50,000 or more for the first 10 years. This allows students to immediately benefit from the scholarship as donors contribute toward the endowment.

For more information about the New American University Scholarship Matching Program, contact Bernreuter at