The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the home of the Peabody Awards. The Ted Turner Maverick Internship at WarnerMedia will be administered in connection with Grady College. And the school will soon feature the Ted Turner Exhibition Hall & Gallery that will be part of the university library’s Russell Special Collections Building.
News of WarnerMedia’s donation came on the same day that the company formally dedicated its Techwood campus in Atlanta to the founder of CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies and other pioneering cable assets. WarnerMedia predecessor Time Warner acquired Turner Broadcasting System in 1996 for $7.5 billion. AT&T scooped up Time Warner in June 2018 for $84.5 billion.
John Stankey WarnerMedia CEO and AT&T president and chief operating officer, was on hand in Atlanta on Friday for the campus dedication at the complex that was once the corporate headquarters of CNN and other Turner channels. The event, hosted by CNN stalwart Wolf Blitzer, featured the unveiling of a mural portrait of Turner by artist JEKS.
“It is hard to identify a single word for someone as multi-dimensional as Ted, but from his business decisions to his commitment to the environment, the word that comes to mind is audacious,” Stankey said in a statement. “This dedication event is so appropriate given the history of what Ted has done for this company. We are forever honored and awed to be part of Ted’s legacy.”
Based in Atlanta, Turner, 81, in his heyday was one of the most powerful, influential and colorful media barons of the previous century. In the 1970s and ’80s, notably with the 1980 launch of the world’s first all-news network in CNN, Turner did more than any other company to advance the quality and quantity of programming available to the nascent cable TV business. He also saw the value of Hollywood libraries with his bet-the-company deal to acquire the storied MGM library as well as that of RKO Pictures, among other acquisitions that now are a big component of Warner Bros. voluminous movie and TV library.
“Turner Broadcasting and its networks, including CNN, are my proudest professional accomplishments and they always will be,” Turner said. “The Techwood campus holds a lot of meaning to me because this is where it all began.”
Turner last year confirmed that he was suffering from a progressive brain disorder known as Lewy body dementia.
(Pictured: Ted Turner at the Techwood campus dedication, with Wolf Blitzer, left, and John Stankey)