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Sons of Ted Scripps to fund new SPJ leadership program

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The sons of former Sigma Delta Chi President E.W. "Ted" Scripps are funding a new development program for chapter leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists with a personal gift of $30,000 a year for the next three years.

"SPJ's role of helping to maintain high journalistic standards and ethics is more vital today than ever," said Edward W. Scripps Jr., in a statement on behalf of himself and his brother William. "We hope this program will continue in that tradition."

The Scripps family gift, which will be administered by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, education arm of the Society, will be used to underwrite the costs of an annual Ted Scripps SPJ Leadership Retreat. The first retreat is set for July 12-14, 1996, in Greencastle, Ind., where Sigma Delta Chi, predecessor to SPJ, was founded in 1909.

Over its three-year lifespan, the Scripps family gift will allow SPJ to offer the leadership of every professional chapter and many college chapters an opportunity to gather and discuss common problems and opportunities confronted by local SPJ leaders, said Reginald Stuart, SPJ president and assistant news editor in Washington, D.C., for Knight-Ridder.

"Ted had a deep passion for local leadership and firmly believed we are only as strong as our local chapters," said Stuart. "I share that belief and hope this gift from the Scripps children will help us realize Ted's goal."

"The Scripps gift is a major shot in the arm for a staff and board driven effort to strengthen SPJ volunteers in the trenches where the lifting is always heavy, lines of communication fuzzy and confusing, and `thank yous' few and far between," said Stuart. "Staged successfully over the next three years, this effort will strengthen us measurably on the ground, just as similar injections have boosted us nationally. These gatherings will also help us better develop the next generation of national leaders."

E.W. "Ted" Scripps joined Sigma Delta Chi while a student at the University of Nevada at Reno. Elected in 1960 at age 31, he is believed to have been one of the youngest national presidents to hold that post once professional members began to assume national office.

Ted Scripps had a distinguished albeit short-lived career. He worked for several news organizations owned by the E.W. Scripps Company, his family's newspaper chain, and rose through the ranks of the company to serve as vice president and assistant secretary. He died of a heart attack June 15, 1987, at age 57.

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