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Ithaca College to use $1M gift for diversity in media scholarship

By Eric Reinhardt


Bob Iger (Photo provided by Ithaca College)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca College will use a $1 million donation from a prominent alum and media executive and his wife, a former broadcaster turned college dean, for a scholarship fostering diversity in media.

Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife, Willow Bay, made the donation to establish the Iger-Bay Endowed Scholarship at Ithaca College.

The funding is in “support of academic excellence and the institution’s goal of becoming a national model for colleges committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Ithaca College said in a news release. 

Iger is a 1973 graduate of the college’s Roy H. Park School of Communications.

The scholarship, which is funded through proceeds from sales of Iger’s recently released memoir, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” will be awarded to incoming students in the Park School of Communications. 

Ithaca College is still working to determine details regarding the application for and distribution of the scholarship, Dave Maley, director of public relations, tells CNYBJ in an email.

Applicants must demonstrate financial need; have declared a major of journalism, sport media or documentary studies; and “hail from communities that are historically underrepresented and underserved” in these fields at Ithaca College and nationally.

About Iger and Bay

Prior to his current role as Disney CEO, Iger served as president and CEO beginning in October 2005 and president and COO from 2000 to 2005, per the Walt Disney Company website. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of president of Walt Disney International. In that role, Iger “expanded and coordinated” Disney’s presence outside the U.S.

As chairman of the ABC Group, Iger oversaw the broadcast television network and station group, cable television properties, and radio and publishing businesses, and also guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company. 

During Iger’s years with ABC, he’s had “hands-on experience in every aspect of the television business,” including news, sports, and entertainment as well as in program acquisition, rights negotiations, and business affairs. He began his career at ABC in 1974.

Bay, who is dean of the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, had a prominent broadcast career including reporting and anchoring for ABC News’ Good Morning America/Sunday and serving as a correspondent for Good Morning America and World News Weekend. The first woman to co-anchor CNN’s flagship daily financial news program Moneyline News Hour, Bay also anchored Business Unusual and Pinnacle, the network’s weekend business news programs. At NBC, she co-hosted NBA Inside Stuff, the NBA’s weekly magazine show, and served as a correspondent for the Today Show morning program, per her biography page on the website of the USC Annenberg School.

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