Stanton, pictured in the 1990s, died last year. Although not a Harvard alumnus, his ‘service to Harvard was long-standing.’
Courtesy of Stanton family

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Stanton trust supports three initiatives

Legendary CBS executive Frank Stanton bequeaths $1 million each to KSG, HSPH, and HLS

Alumni Affairs and Development

Extending decades of generosity toward the University, the trust of Frank Stanton, the celebrated media executive, gave $3 million in late November to support three initiatives at Harvard: an annual lecture at the Kennedy School of Government concerning freedom of the press, a postgraduate fellowship for a First Amendment scholar at Harvard Law School, and the work of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Stanton, who died last year at the age of 98, is widely credited with helping to build the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) into a media empire. In addition to serving as president of CBS for a quarter century, he is known for defending First Amendment rights of broadcast journalists, propelling the success of the Designated Driver Campaign, and helping establish the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Although not a Harvard alumnus, Stanton was a devoted advocate, benefactor, and adviser to the University. He spent six years as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, served on the Committee on University Resources executive committee and several University advisory groups, and gave generously to various parts of Harvard over the span of more than two decades.

“Frank Stanton’s service to Harvard was long-standing and broad,” said Thomas M. Reardon, senior adviser to the president and former vice president for Alumni Affairs and Development. “He cared deeply about issues of freedom of the press and also the life of the mind, and found Harvard to be an effective ground to nurture both passions. The University is all the better for his involvement.”

The recent bequests support programs at Harvard that connect with Stanton’s abiding interests. His $1 million gift to the Kennedy School of Government establishes the Richard S. Salant Lecture Fund in honor of Stanton’s friend and colleague. Salant, a lawyer and media executive, was also an ardent defender of the First Amendment and longtime promoter of broadcasting ethics and news standards. This endowed fund, administered by KSG’s Shorenstein Center, will provide support for an annual lecture on the freedom of the press, accompanied by a dinner and followed by publication of the address by the center. The first Salant Lecture will be given during the 2008–09 academic year.

Stanton’s bequest to Harvard Law School sets up the Corydon B. Dunham Fellowship Fund, named in honor of the former executive vice president and general counsel of NBC, and author of the book “Fighting for the First Amendment: Stanton of CBS vs. Congress and the Nixon White House.” The first fellowship recipient at the Law School, to be named annually, will receive funding to study the First Amendment during the 2008–09 academic year.

In 1985, Stanton worked closely with Jay Winsten, an associate dean at the School of Public Health, to create the Center for Health Communication. With the mission of improving public health by mobilizing the power of mass communication, the center, with guidance from Stanton, spearheaded the Designated Driver Campaign in the United States and has become a leader in the development of the field of health communication. The recent bequest will offer funding for the current needs of the center, as determined by Winsten, the Frank Stanton Director for the Center.

Stanton’s previous support of Harvard included gifts to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University Art Museums, Graduate School of Design, Harvard College Library, School of Public Health, and Kennedy School of Government.

“We are truly grateful for Frank Stanton’s dedication and generosity, which have had and will continue to have an impact across the University,” said President Drew Faust.

© 2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College