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SPJ, SDX Foundation Name Terrence G. Harper Executive Director


Al Cross, SPJ President, 502/875-5136 ext. 14 or across@spj.org
Robert Leger, SPJ President-Elect, 417/836-1113 or rleger@springfi.gannett.com
Paul McMasters, SDX Foundation President, 703/284-3511 or pmcmasters@freedomforum.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation today announced the hiring of Terrence G. Harper, an Indianapolis-based association executive, as the new executive director of the two organizations.

Almost 120 people applied for the job. Harper was the unanimous choice of a search committee, which interviewed five finalists at the organizations’ headquarters in Indianapolis on Jan. 10-11. Harper will begin work at the national headquarters, located at 3909 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis, on Feb. 26.

“Terry was selected from a very large and strong pool of candidates, and I am confident that he will provide the headquarters leadership that SPJ and SDX need to fulfill their missions in journalism,” said SPJ President Al Cross, a political writer and columnist for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

Harper said he is ready to take the helm of SPJ and the SDX Foundation and help the organizations further their missions.

“I am excited to be a part of the nation’s premier organization aimed at improving and protecting journalism,” Harper said. “SPJ is poised to provide direction and leadership to its members on many of the important issues facing journalists today, not the least of which are freedom of information and protecting the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press. I am looking forward to working with SPJ’s dedicated volunteer leaders and talented staff to achieve the Society’s goals.”

Harper served as executive director of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and its endowment fund for nine years, from 1990-1999. He comes to SPJ and the SDX Foundation from the Indianapolis-based Kiwanis International Foundation, where he has been director of fund raising since August 2001. Harper previously worked as a financial advisor for UBS PaineWebber Inc. from 1999-2001.

“Terry has a wide range of skills and experience, especially in financial management and investment, that will prove most helpful to the Foundation,” said Paul K. McMasters, SDX Foundation president, member of the search committee and First Amendment Ombudsman at The Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va. “His leadership will be invaluable in our efforts to do an even better job of serving the interests of SPJ and the needs of the nation’s journalists.”

A six-member search committee recommended Harper to the SPJ board of directors, which approved Harper’s hiring in a conference call vote on Sunday.

Harper stood out for his experience in running an association, improving finances, and fund-raising ability and drive, said SPJ President-Elect Robert Leger, chair of the search committee and editorial page editor of the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader.

“Those who have worked with Harper describe him as committed, driven, hard-working and detail-oriented, which are the qualities we sought in an executive director,” Leger said. “Our 23-member board will keep SPJ focused on improving and protecting journalism, while Terry’s ability in building finances and membership will give us the strong foundation we need to spread our message.”

Search committee members were Cross, McMasters, Leger, SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Mac McKerral, past SPJ President Kyle Elyse Niederpruem and former SPJ Regional Director Bonna de la Cruz.

Harper may be reached at the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center – the national headquarters of SPJ and the SDX Foundation – starting Feb. 26. Contact him at 317/927-8000 ext. 220 or at tharper@spj.org.

He succeeds former Executive Director James L. Gray, who resigned in November. SPJ Deputy Executive Director Julie Grimes has served as acting executive director in the interim.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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