Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Roger Mudd gives 4 Million Dollars to W and L

 (This article is from the Richmond Times Dispatch  12/14/10)

Christmas arrived a few weeks early this year at Washington and Lee University.

Roger Mudd
University alumnus Roger Mudd, an award-winning journalist, has given his alma mater $4 million to establish a center for the study of ethics.

Mudd, who graduated from Washington and Lee in 1950, had a long career in journalism that began at The Richmond News Leader in the mid-1950s.

He later transitioned to television and between 1961 and 1992 served as a Washington correspondent for CBS News, NBC News and the "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" on PBS.

"In our society now, there are so many temptations, so many people falling from grace, I thought this would be an attempt to make some small contribution to raise the level of ethical conduct in America," Mudd said Monday by phone.

"My experience at Washington and Lee left a major imprint on my life," he added. "To live as a young man in an honor code culture made all the difference to me. I took that with me and always found that as best you could live an ethical life in this complicated society, it was a much better life to live."

The Roger Mudd Center for the Study of Professional Ethics will enhance existing ethics programs at the university and expand on them, said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio.

The university already offers courses on ethics in journalism, law, business and medicine.

"What we want to do is extend that further, developing different aspects in different fields," said Ruscio. He said additional courses might focus on politics and use literature as a means of understanding ethics.

"Even beyond that, we envision some programs for people in the community well beyond Lexington — political officials, business executives — providing opportunities for them to get a little reflection and thought on ethics in their professions," Ruscio added.

Mudd's donation will be supplemented with funds from the existing Society in the Professions program, which will now fall under the umbrella of the ethics center.

An endowed Roger Mudd professorship in ethics will fund a director for the center. The search for that position will begin in the fall, said Ruscio.

"I've really been waiting for awhile to do something that would be helpful and give back to the school some small measure of what it meant to me," said Mudd. "This is something special for me."

Mudd won the George Foster Peabody award for two CBS programs, "The Selling of the Pentagon" in 1970 and "Teddy," an interview with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, in 1979 ahead of his 1980 presidential campaign. Mudd also won the Joan S. Barone Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting, in 1990, and five Emmy Awards.

His memoir, "The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News," was published in 2008.

Watch the interview Chuck Langdon and I did with Roger last year on our OUT OF THE PAST show on Fairfax Cable.

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