The name Manship has been synonymous with media in Baton Rouge for more than a century. It began in 1909 when Charles Manship Sr. bought the city’s bankrupt newspaper and turned it into Capital City Press.
A purchase intended to create a nonpartisan news source for Baton Rouge was also, however unintentionally, the beginning of a media dynasty.
Manship began the family’s relationship with LSU in 1922, when he built a new newspaper publishing facility and outfitted an adjacent newsroom dedicated for the use of LSU journalism students.
“The entire university is so important to Baton Rouge, the growth of Baton Rouge and the development of Baton Rouge,” said Richard Manship, Charles’ grandson, explaining the family’s passion for the university. “We love LSU. We know the importance of LSU to our community. We have all the faith in the world of everyone at the entire university.”
Richard, president of Baton Rouge news station WBRZ, shared that the family supports the entire university—including a recent major gift to the Center for Academic Success—but contributions to the Manship School of Mass Communication ultimately help the family business. “It would be silly not to take advantage of the school there, and help make it as good as it can be, so we can reap the benefits of the graduates.”
During the school’s recent centennial celebration, Richard, along with siblings David, Dina and Douglas Jr., pledged an unrestricted $163,000 gift to the Manship Excellence Fund. “I know how important an unrestricted gift can be at certain times,” Richard shared. “I think it allows the administration to be a little more creative in what they do.”
The unrestricted gifts in this fund allow the school flexibility to allocate the dollars where they are most needed, such as faculty and student travel to conferences and competitions or program and equipment upgrades. “When you think about it, who are we to try and figure out how [a university] should go about educating the students?” Richard reflected.
He shared that he and his siblings trust the school’s administration and faculty. “I really think that where they are now, they’re ahead of the curve,” he said, explaining the school’s emphasis on ensuring courses reflect the ever-changing world of media. “We’re educating people for our future, not for now.”
Published in Cornerstone Winter and Spring 2014.