The P.I. Reed School of Journalism kicked off its portion of Building Greatness Campaign: West Virginia University with an inspirational dinner recently at the home of the school’s former dean.

The school’s kickoff at Dean Emeritus Guy Stewart’s home featured testimonials from alumni, former teachers and Dean Christine Martin, who this year endowed a scholarship for news-editorial students in her father’s name.

The campaign, which is being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University, seeks to raise $250 million to assist students and faculty, enhance the university’s academic and research programs and technological capacity, expand its outreach efforts and complete its plans for the campuses. The journalism school is seeking to raise $1.5 million toward the effort.

“The Building Greatness Campaign is about financing the futureensuring it for kids. Kids who will come to this good public university and become somebody. Kids who will earn our scholarships, study in our library, consume our curriculum, learn from our endowed professors. Kids who will count their four years in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism as the pivotal moment of their lives,”Martin said.

Martin told the 40 people in attendance that her father never graduated high school or had a chance to go to college, but he valued education because he knew the immeasurable opportunity that it offers.

“He scraped together everything he could to send me to college. He couldn’t afford a pricey private school, but he knew that a good public university would open doors, spark my imagination, feed my dreams, change my world, let me be somebody,”Martin said.

Senior news editorial student Grant Smith, a reporter for The Daily Athenaeum, will be the first winner of the Thomas Picarsic Scholarship in Journalism.

“And every year after, my father will help some kid to go to a good public universityWest Virginia Universityto become very smart, to become somebody,”Martin said.

Martin asked those in attendance to join her in helping to build on a legacy of learning for generations of students.

“These are kids who will come to the School of Journalism launched on their families’dreams. They will leave the school of journalism launched with our promise to help them become very smart. They will be somebodyevery one of them,”she said.

John Auge, a member of the school’s Visiting Committee and a senior vice president and creative director for Charles Ryan Associates in Charleston, said he was inspired by the evening’s events.

“The Capital Campaign reception event at the Stewarts’was such a moving experience,”Auge said.”The fact that my son could join me and later would be seated in the core of the presenters illustrated to me that this is why we are all working so hardfor the student. It is those young minds that are soaking up our experiences, life wisdom and direction.”