USD receives $1 million for female journalist scholarships

USD receives $1 million for female journalist scholarships The University of South Dakota has received a $1.02 million bequest from the estate of Norma Lewis Brown that will provide scholarships to students in the Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism, with preference being given to women.

The added scholarships for the Contemporary Media and Journalism department, along with the recent opening of the state-of-the-art Al Neuharth Media Center, will help establish the university's journalism program as one of the finest in the nation.

"The Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism is ever so grateful for this endowed scholarship that will help us fulfill our goal of attracting the best and the brightest talent from our region," said Ramon Chavez, chair of the Department of Contemporary Media & Journalism at USD. "The role of female journalists is critical to the stated goal of the profession to bring a wider range of diverse voices to the public. We will be able to help in that effort by providing a scholarship for a talented individual who will add to the media's gender diversity."

Norma Lewis was born in 1913 at Alcester, the daughter of Arthur H. and Blanche Sagen Lewis. She graduated from Alcester High School in 1933 and enrolled at The University of South Dakota that fall to study journalism.

Brown found time during her college years to be a corresponding reporter and feature writer for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and Sioux City Journal. During her senior year, she edited the Coyote yearbook and was a reporter for the USD news bureau as well as joining the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Following her graduation from USD with a journalism degree in 1937, Brown ventured to Minneapolis to begin her career, but jobs in journalism, especially for women, were scarce. She accepted a position with the student health service at the University of Minnesota as a clerk and remained until 1942, when she moved to Chicago to join the staff of the American College of Hospital Administrators, a national professional organization.

While there she met Daniel H. Brown, a native of Lead, and they were married in 1948. Her husband's career as a hospital administrator and independent consultant took the couple to a succession of American cities where she took occasional part-time positions, but never in the field of journalism.

Daniel Brown died in November of 1991, and Norma continued to live in retirement in San Diego, CA, where she kept busy with volunteer activities until her death on Aug. 23, 2002.

In providing for the scholarship endowment in her estate plan, Norma wrote in 1995 that she was doing so "in appreciation for the good memories and excellent training I received as a journalism major at The University of South Dakota. I ended up with a good life, but the job market in my era was limited for women in journalism. Therefore, I would like to give promising young female journalism students a chance to pursue their dreams through scholarships at the university."

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