The Howard Ziff Fund was established in 1998 upon the retirement of Journalism Professor Howard M. Ziff, who died this year at the age of 81. Ziff is considered the father of the UMass Journalism Program, a Holyoke-born, Amherst College grad, a Chicago newspaper man, and the guy who changed hundreds of students' lives, both in the classroom and beyond. From giving you a book to getting you a job, Ziff was more than an educator, he was a connector.
And he loved his students. Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, a one-time student, and full-time friend of Ziff's, put it, "He loved Mencken and Orwell and Aristotle and Descartes and watching some kid from Norwood or Worcester or Ludlow actually start reading books, not because it was required but because it was a joy and a revelation."
Ziff was a public figure in the Pioneer Valley, appearing in "Hollywood Classics," on Springfield public television. After retirement, he remained a familiar figure on campus, frequenting the Du Bois library, and swimming at NOPE.
Any occasion to honor Howard was a good time, because of the wide range and interests of all the people who knew and loved him. This spirit lives on today on the Friends of Howard Ziff Facebook page, which continues to draw stories and reminiscences of "the big guy."
When Howard retired in 1998, the Journalism Program established the Howard Ziff Fund to bring professional journalists into the classroom, and to challenge students to connect with the world of journalism beyond the campus. This year's Ziff speaker was Mark Stencel, managing editor for digital news for National Public Radio. Stencel spent three days at UMass, speaking to hundreds of students, and to faculty, about the future of digital news and how the program can best prepare journalists of tomorrow.
A donation to this fund will keep the memory of Howard alive, while also helping educate a new generation of young journalists.