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Merced Sun-Star Professorship Established with Gift to UC Merced

$500,000 Endowment Will Create Chair in Mass Communications
September 24, 2002

Merced, CA — The parent company of the Merced Sun-Star newspaper has pledged to create a new endowed chair in mass communications at the University of California, Merced, it was announced today.

The gift of $500,000 comes to the University from Headline Media Group, which, through its affiliate Pacific-Sierra Publishing, publishes 17 newspapers throughout California.

The announcement was made during a ceremony held at Merced Sun-Star headquarters by UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and Headline Media Group President Anthony Allegretti, who is also President and CEO of Pacific-Sierra Publishing.

“We are very pleased to announce this wonderful gift to the University,” said Tomlinson-Keasey. “Endowed chairs provide an essential boost to our ability to hire the very best faculty for this new university. This is the fourteenth chair to be awarded to UC Merced - all before we have opened our new campus. We are very grateful for this support.”

Said Allegretti: “It is wonderful for us to be able to honor the 133-year association between the employees of the Merced Sun-Star and the vibrant community of Merced with this gift to the region's first University of California campus. We believe that the teaching, research, and public service provided over the generations by the holders of this chair will greatly benefit the people of Merced, the San Joaquin Valley, and beyond.”

An endowed chair [sometimes called a professorship] is a special faculty position designation in which the professor holding the chair annually receives financial support for research and other activities. Endowed chairs are prestigious, in that they are only offered to professors who have demonstrated superior academic achievements in their research.

The Merced Sun-Star Endowed Chair in Mass Communications will be awarded to one of the faculty members of UC Merced. The chair will provide ongoing support for faculty developing undergraduate programs in the study of journalism, broadcasting, broadband communications and related electronic media. “Pacific-Sierra Publishing intends to work closely with university faculty to develop work/study programs and internships for qualified students majoring in mass media communications,” said Allegretti. “We are proud to be active contributors to the University, and over time hope to attract local graduates to careers with our media properties.”

Headline Media Group & Pacific-Sierra Publishing

Headline Media Group is a communications company specializing in newspapers, the Internet, radio, direct mail marketing and related media. The company was founded by Allegretti, Robert Schmitz [who serves as chairman], and Stephen Staloch, publisher of the Merced Sun-Star.

Added Schmitz, “Our partnership with the University of California, Merced will create opportunities for both organizations to develop new ideas in communications and new forms of distributing information and knowledge in an electronic world.”

Headline Media's major affiliate, Pacific-Sierra Publishing, publishes newspapers throughout California. Its largest publication is the Merced Sun-Star, the hometown daily newspaper serving the Merced community. Pacific-Sierra also publishes the hometown newspapers in the San Joaquin Valley communities of Turlock, Madera, Los Banos, Oakhurst, Mariposa, Livingston, Atwater and Chowchilla. The company also hosts community web sites in Merced, Turlock, and Madera, and plans to introduce additional sites in the near future.

The company employs approximately 300 professional and service personnel in the area. Other community newspapers in California published by Pacific-Sierra are located in Jackson, Gilroy, Hollister, Morgan Hill, and La Jolla. Pacific-Sierra also publishes two magazines: The Log, serving the blue-water boating industry in California, and Good Times, an arts and entertainment weekly serving Santa Cruz and the surrounding coastal area.

The Merced Sun-Star

The Merced Sun-Star evolved from the San Joaquin Valley Argus, a weekly newspaper based in Snelling, which began publishing in 1869. The Argus merged with the Merced Journal in 1890 to become the Merced County Sun; in 1925 another consolidation created the Merced Sun-Star. Today, the newspaper has a circulation of 20,000.

UC Merced

UC Merced, the 10th campus of the UC system, is expected to open in fall 2004 with an initial 1,000 students. The campus will in subsequent years and decades grow to be a comprehensive campus for 25,000 students and approximately 6,000 faculty and staff.

In addition to its main location, the Merced campus will utilize digital technology to create an educational network that serves students and communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The University currently operates educational centers in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Merced. Another center is planned for Modesto. UC Merced currently employs approximately 100 educators and professionals.