Thanks to the generosity of a WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism (SOJ) alumnus and his wife, more SOJ students will be able to gain valuable career experience through internships.
John Walls (BSJ, 1978) and his wife Cindy have established the John and Cindy Walls Career Development Fund at the School of Journalism. This first-of-its-kind fund at the School will provide funding support for students working in high-level media internships in Washington, D.C.
“It’s vitally important for young people to gain practical experience in their chosen field,” said Walls. But, he noted, very few internships pay.
“Cindy and I hope that the Fund’s support will allow students to make decisions about summer work opportunities that are best for their careers and will ease pressure they might feel about having to make money while doing something in which they have little interest.”
Walls’ career began as a news anchor at WWVU-TV in Morgantown in 1978. From there, he worked for stations in Beaumont, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Charleston, S.C., Tulsa, Okla., and Los Angeles, where he was on the original anchor team for Fox Sports Net. Walls has won numerous awards for his sportscasting and news anchoring work, including two Regional News Emmys. He has spent the past nine years in Washington, D.C., as Vice President, Public Affairs, for CTIA – The Wireless Association, an international nonprofit membership organization representing the wireless communications industry.
Because they are based in the nation’s capital, Walls and his wife focused their support on students interning in that area and hope to provide guidance and mentorship to students who receive their gift.
“I’ve had the good fortune of getting tremendous advice over the years from a number of people who were a lot smarter than I was and had a lot more experience,” said Walls. “I hope I can provide that same kind of assistance to a young person who’s trying to launch their career.
“This gift is really about helping the people you love. I love the Journalism School and the University, and what they’ve both done for Cindy and me. Hopefully we can help students develop the same kind of affinity for WVU,” said Walls.
School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed says the fund is both unique and ideal for SOJ students.
“By establishing a fund that focuses on the D.C. area, the Walls’ are providing an opportunity for students to work in a rich media market where they may otherwise not have the financial means to live and work,” said Reed. “Because of its proximity, Washington, D.C., is one of our biggest placement areas, and we are grateful to John and Cindy for helping to create a direct pipeline for our talented students.”
The School hopes to establish similar funds for other major metro areas where students typically intern. For more information about this fund and others, please contact WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism Director of Development Luella Gunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gift was made to the WVU Foundation as part of A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, a $750 million fundraising effort the Foundation is conducting on behalf of the University.