MDJ columnist pledges $1.57M to UGA journalism school
by Lindsay Field
March 22, 2013 12:32 AM | 6549 views | 8 8 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
Marietta DailyJournal columnist Dick Yarbrough, who is syndicated in a number of newspapers throughout Georgia, is making a $1.57 million pledge to the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in an attempt to prepare students for crisis management and make it the go-to school on the topic.

The money will be used to create a first-of-its-kind professorship — the C. Richard Yarbrough Chair in Crisis Communications Leadership — at the state’s largest university.

Yarbrough, a 1959 UGA graduate and former public relations professional, will be recognized for his donation during the college’s Dick Yarbrough Day on Tuesday.

“It will be a course of study that I hope everybody in the journalism school will go through,” he said. “It’s about getting students to understand that in a crisis the public will be a determinant in whether or not (an organization, individual or corporation) succeeded in dealing with it.”

Yarbrough said he is quite familiar with crisis management and is very proud of his past efforts.

He managed the chaos that followed after the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic Games when he served as the managing director of external affairs, and he also assisted in what he referred to as the “dustup” in Cobb County over gay rights resolutions in the 1990s.

“I’ve got a lot of experiences in crisis,” Yarbrough said. “It is something I feel very strongly about and strong enough about to make a commitment to the school to make it better.”

Yarbrough said he believes that when there are public crises like these, individuals need to be trained who can handle the questions regarding them.

“You can get on Twitter or Facebook and start a rumor, and you can damage a company’s reputation with just a rumor that gets life and is spread around,” he said. “That was not anything I ever dealt with, but young people now will have to learn to deal with that in the business world.”

He said he hopes the professorship opens up the doors for Georgia in that it will be the go-to place for media if or when a crisis occurs.

“My vision is that experts would come to the school and work with kids on dealing with crises,” he said.

Yarbrough has been working closely with Grady College for years to create the program and to determine the best route in bringing it to the university.

Cully Clark, dean of the Grady College, said there is no greater distinction than creating a professorship like this.

“This is huge,” he said. “Not simply in the amount of the pledge, but in terms of the concept and what we want to accomplish.”

Clark said he believes the program is needed at the school and that the pledge will assure Grady College will always have a faculty member who is among the most recognized experts in crisis management.

The college has named public relations professor Bryan Reber as the faculty member who will carry out the program.
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March 23, 2013
Wow, that is a huge amount of money from one individual; that is really generous of you Mr. Y.

maybe you will get your wish and this donation will make a difference somewhere, someway.
tyler durden
March 23, 2013
Sometimes I forget how well read and intelligent the folks of Marietta are, then I read a nugget from Laura Armstrong like this and I am reminded of the thoughtful, serious opinions that exist. Who says you guys are all knee jerk mouth breathing racists? That's crazy talk.

Bill Clements
March 22, 2013
This is a wonderful contribution to UGA by an accomplished and successful Grady J school Alum. Some DAWGS deliver on their Bark !

Time to focus on the gift and the giver !
Just Wait
March 22, 2013
I'm sure UGA really appreciates this donation from Dick. With his financial help, the average reading and writing level at the college will zoom up to fifth or sixth grade level, discounting those in the football program.
March 22, 2013
Your comment indicates that in the land of V-8's you are at best a "slant 6" and that reflects a serious "rounding up" of your IQ.
Laura Armstrong
March 22, 2013
Mucho congratulations on your contribution and involvement, Mr. Y. Wish I could take the classes the young people will get to take.

Now, can you assert your influence with the Grady school and talk them out of awarding that prestigious prize to Al Jazeera, as reported March 8th? It's so sad to me to know my alma mater and yours cannot find a worthy American journalist to bestow honor upon, but instead panders to those who, either mistakenly or not, support terrorist organizations. At the same time, their award to Al Jazeera legitimizes them to the world, when they should instead be marginalized for helping cause the deaths of Americans and other freedom lovers internationally.

Unfortunately, it would appear our school doesn't care about taking a moral approach to awarding their prizes, as long as the money keeps rolling in to support them.
March 22, 2013

Your school cares little about anything other than football
Andy Smith
March 22, 2013
I differ.

The Ralph McGill Award for Journalistic Courage is being awarded this fall to Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist reporting for Al Jazeera's English language channel in Qatar . Her mother is American and her father Iranian. She was captured, jailed and interrogated for 19 days while covering the civil war in Syria.

I commend my school and the Grady McGill Fellows for bestowing this honor upon her. She is worthy of the award.
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