Office of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Relations Manager
RICHARD D. PARSONS APPOINTED FIRST HOLDER GWENDOLYN S. AND COLBERT I. KING CHAIR IN PUBLIC POLICY
Time Warner Chairman to Assume Position This Spring
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 17, 2008) - Chairman of the Board of Time Warner Inc. and former CEO, Richard D. Parsons has been appointed first holder of the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University for the period beginning March 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. Established last year with the King’s $1 million donation to the University, the chair is intended to encourage highly accomplished individuals to come to Howard to share their experiences with current students.
The Kings, who are both Howard alumni, inaugurated the chair to reflect their years in public service and the media. Gwendolyn Stewart King, who graduated in 1962 with degrees in French and education, went on to a distinguished career including serving as commissioner of the Social Security Administration and as director of Monsanto Company, Marsh & McLennan Companies and Lockheed Martin Corporation, whose charitable awards program made the gift to Howard possible. Meanwhile, Mr. Colbert King, who graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s in government, has had a similarly distinguished career, including 16 years at The Washington Post. In 2003, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for what the committee called his “against the grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom.”
“We feel very strongly that had it not been for Howard, we would never have met and now it has been 47 years,” said Gwendolyn King last year, explaining their motivation to establish the chair. “Howard has given us a lot and we were intent on giving back.”
Howard University president, H. Patrick Swygert, hails Mr. Parsons’ appointment to the chair as the perfect embodiment of the King’s desire to honor those who have accomplished, utilize their experiences to inspire another generation to move forward, and address the needs of the students for outstanding role models to encourage their own dreams.
“As chairman of the Board of Time Warner, a company that has excelled in the film entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing industries, it is more than fitting that Mr. Parsons is the first holder of the King Chair in Public Policy,” Swygert said. “His exemplar career and his civic and non profit commitments, in addition to serving on the Howard University Board of Trustees since 1988, distinguish him as a true friend and the personification of our finest ideals of leadership and service.”
Board of Trustees Chair Addison Barry Rand said he too was elated at the appointment of Parsons as the first chair. “Trustee Parsons is a remarkably accomplished individual. His appointment certainly signifies from day one the magnitude of this chair, and it sets the bar very high for those who will follow. This is very good for our students and needless to say, I am extremely pleased.”
For his part, Mr. Parsons said he is honored by the opportunity that his appointment represents.
“I view this appointment as a singular honor. I have long felt that education is the wellspring of opportunity. My education has enabled me to do pretty much whatever I have set out to do in life,” said Parsons. “It will be a privilege to engage with some of our country’s finest young minds at Howard University, and to encourage students to go on to lead lives of public service in the tradition of this venerable institution. That I will be doing so in the name of two truly outstanding individuals – Colbert King and Gwendolyn Stewart King – makes my endeavors all the more meaningful.”