Honorable Walter H. Annenberg
A Lasting Legacy
Hon. Walter H. Annenberg, W '31, H '66, Penn Trustee Emeritus,
philanthropist, patron of the arts, and former ambassador, died
of pneumonia at his home in Wynnewood, October 1 at the age of 94.
Judith Rodin said, "We are deeply saddened to learn of the
death of Walter Annenberg. Walter was one of our nation's greatest
philanthropists, who embodied the belief that those fortunate enough
to acquire great wealth are obligated to use it for the good of
society. Walter was a great believer in the importance of education
and demonstrated this over and over again through his incredibly
generous contributions to Penn and other educational institutions.
support for Penn's Annenberg School for Communication demonstrated
his keen appreciation for the critical role the mass media plays
in our society and the need to study and understand the impact the
media have on our lives. He was a tremendous friend and advisor
to Penn, and he will be greatly missed."
graduating from the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., Walter Annenberg
attended the Wharton School before joining his family's publishing
business in Philadelphia. In 1940 he became president of Triangle
Publications--which included The Philadelphia Inquirer.
He later became chairman of the board. He founded Seventeen
magazine in 1944 and TV Guide in 1953 and bought radio and
television stations. In 1957 he bought The Daily News.
1958 he gave Penn $3 million to create the Annenberg School for
Communication at Penn as a memorial to his father Moses L. Annenberg,
and in 1970 he gave $2.1 million to build the Annenberg Center,
located adjacent to the school. He also founded the Annenberg School
for Communication at USC in 1971.
elected to Penn's Board of Trustees in 1960 and again in 1965,
he resigned from the board of Penn and other institutions in 1969
upon his appointment as ambassador. He served as ambassador to the
Court of St. James, Great Britain from 1968-74. Upon his return
to the states, he was once again elected to Penn's board in
1974. He was designated a trustee emeritus in 1978. Penn conferred
an honorary doctor of laws on him in 1966.
the Annenberg School of Communications marked its 25th anniversary
of its founding, a gala celebration was held in May 1984 at which
an Award of Merit was given to Pennsylania-born actor James Stuart
and then in a surprise tribute, Awards of Merit were given to both
the Hon. Leonore and the Hon. Walter Annenberg.
Annenbergs' major gifts to Penn go back farther than Penn's
record-keeping which began in the 1960s, and continued for more
than half a century. They endowed three chairs in SAS--in the
humanities, social sciences and natural sciences--as part of
the Program for the Eighties. In the late sixties, when Penn had
not yet broken the million-dollar barrier, Mr. Annenberg anonymously
announced that he would match dollar-for-dollar his fellow donors'
increases in annual giving. The anonymous "Mr. Pennsylvania"
raised the Annual Giving Program total from $2 million to $2.6 million,
a new high in Penn history. It has risen steadily ever since.
1989, he was believed to be the largest individual donor in Penn's
history. He pledged $10 million to SAS for the history department,
which gained four endowed chairs, eight fellowships, a visiting
chair and a Humanities Fund to interact with other departments.
Dr. Sheldon Hackney, then Penn's president, said of Walter
Annenberg, "He is a visionary who has not only earned his own
place in our country's history, but one who also shares our
belief in history as an essential building block of education and
as a discipline whose study prepares students to fulfill their obligations
as free citizens."
had also pledged $500,000 to endow the Gloria T. Chisum Fellowship,
which annually supports a doctoral student of African-American descent
in experimental psychology, biology, physiology or biochemistry.
Then, later in 1989 he pledged yet another $10 million that provided
$6.5 million for the Annenberg School and $3.5 million for SAS,
raising his share of the $1 billion Campaign for Penn to $20.5 million.
"The hundreds of students who received PhDs and MAs at the
Annenberg School and the thousands whose lives they affect testify
to the power of the Annenbergs' vision," said ASC Dean
Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
Trustees of the University voted in 1993 to endow the deanship of
the Annenberg School for Communication and name it in honor of the
School's founder, the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg. The resolution
which passed unanimously at the January 22, 1993 Stated Meeting
cited his commitment to Penn, his service to his country, his humanitarian
concerns, career in publishing, and resolved to endow, fund, and
name the deanship and designate Dean Jamieson, the first incumbent
of the named Deanship.
Ronald Reagan awarded Ambassador Annenberg the nation's highest
civilian honor in 1986, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, citing
him for a "brilliant career in publishing, for his pioneering
use of television for educational purposes, and for his devotion
to the development of higher education."
Annenberg also received the first Alfred I. DuPont Award in 1951
"for new concepts in educational broadcasting, the Henry Johnson
Fisher Award and the 1984 Publisher of the Year and the Ralph Lowell
Award for distinguished service to public television. He was the
only American to hold the post of Ambassador to Great Britain who
was named a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire.
the summer of 1993, at a Trustees' farewell dinner for Sheldon
Hackney, Mr. Annenberg announced the largest gift ever given to
the largest cash gift ever made to a university
gift of $120 million to Penn, another $120 million to USC, $100
million to the Peddie School and $25 million to his son's alma
mater, Harvard--a total of $365 million of the family foundation's
$1.55 billion in assets. That monumental gift to Penn endowed the
Annenberg School "into the 21st century and beyond," Dean
Jamieson said and established an Annenberg Public Policy Center,
headed by the dean. Dr. Hackney quipped that Mr. Annenberg and his
wife, Leonore, have "done more for Penn than anyone since Benjamin
appreciation for all they have done for Penn, the Ambassadors Walter
and Leonore Annenberg were given Penn's Medals for Distinguished
Achievement, along with a scroll of appreciation signed by a thousand
people from all walks of the University --at a dinner marking
the end of the Campaign for Penn in 1994--making them the first
to have received the Medal and honorary degrees from Penn.
Hon. Walter Annenberg was presented with the American Assembly's
1994 Service to Democracy Award in October 1994 for "contributions
to the nation." The American Assembly is a national, non-partisan
public affairs forum founded in 1950, by former U.S. President Dwight
D. Eisenhower during his tenure as president of Columbia University.
December 2000, a $25 million endowment from the Annenberg Foundation
was given to establish a new Institute for Adolescent Risk Communication
at Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center and an additional $2.5
million to establish the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair for
the Director of the Public Policy Center (Almanac
December 19, 2000).
in another magnanimous move last month, the Annenberg Foundation
announced endowments of $100 million for each of the Annenberg Schools
of Communication, the one at Penn and the one at USC (Almanac
Annenberg is survived by his wife, the Hon. Leonore Annenberg, his
daughter Wallis Annenberg, who directs the Los Angeles office of
the Annenberg Foundation, two stepdaughters, Diane Deshong and Elizabeth
Kabler, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two sisters,
Enid Haupt and Evelyn Hall.
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 7, October 8, 2002