VCU Names School In Honor Of Dick Robertson

The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors has approved a new name for the School of Mass Communications in honor of alumnus and retired television executive Richard T. “Dick” Robertson.

Pending approval by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, the school will be called the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. The school said the new name “recognizes Robertson’s significant volunteer service and ongoing philanthropic support of the university. The renaming also reflects changes in the communications profession.”

“Dick’s support and love of VCU is well known, and we are proud to have the school from which he graduated bear his good name,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “A named school, particularly one named for one of our most successful alumni — a legend in the television industry — will help attract the support of many current and future alumni. Dick’s legacy will inspire future generations of students to follow in his footsteps.”

As the transfer of information is becoming less aimed at a mass audience and more personalized, drawing on many new avenues including social and digital media, the term “mass communications” is not a fitting description of the fields of advertising, journalism and public relations — the three pillars of the school’s curriculum. The school’s current mission statement, degree programs, curriculum and assessment plans will not be affected.

The school’s faculty and alumni advisory board both endorse the name change.

“Named schools are a characteristic of national research universities,” Robertson said. “I am deeply honored to have the school named for me and will continue to work with the faculty, VCU Administration and the school’s advisory board to help the Robertson School take its place among the elite programs in the country.”

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Robertson, considered one of the architects of the syndicated barter television business with a 40-year career that established him as one of the most powerful and innovative executives in the industry, spent 17 years as president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Robertson has been involved in the sales and launches of hundreds of television series and specials.

He had a hands-on role in more than 100 series and movie packages, including the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the phenomenon Friends and the genre-founding The People’s Court.

Robertson began his career in 1965 as a salesman for WRVA Richmond, Va., while still earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising from VCU.

Robertson currently serves as the chair of the school’s advisory board and has been active in the program for many years. He is a 1967 graduate of the School of Mass Communications and was chairman of VCU’s Partners for Progress campaign, which raised $167.8 million during a seven-year period (1992-1999). He kicked off the public phase of the campaign by announcing a $1 million gift to the university and made a separate gift to name the Richard T. Robertson Alumni House.

In 2003, Robertson was appointed to the VCU Board of Visitors and in 2005 served as the university’s May commencement speaker. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, VCU’s highest form of recognition, and the Edward A. Wayne Medal, established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions or provided exemplary service to VCU. In 1997, he was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and in 1999 was named the Alumni Star for the College of Humanities and Sciences.

He serves on the board of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and in 2003 was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.


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Marcus Miller says:

October 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Congratulations Dick – this is very cool


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