Ithaca College will be launching the Iger-Bay Endowed Scholarship to support underrepresented students studying select majors in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.
The couple Bob Iger ’73, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., and Willow Bay, dean of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is funding the scholarship using the funds from Iger’s autobiography, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” which was released in September. Iger and Bay donated $1 million to the Ithaca College to establish the scholarship. Iger is worth an estimated $690 million, according to Forbes.
Incoming students who have declared a major in journalism, sports media or documentary studies can apply for the scholarship. Dave Maley, director of public relations, said that the details regarding the application and distribution of the scholarships, including how many scholarships are offered and how much they are worth, have not been determined yet.
“Willow and I have advocated strongly for equitable representation of people of color in media and journalism for our entire careers,” Iger said in an announcement. “Increasing diversity in the newsroom is crucially important to us, and so we made the decision to allocate book proceeds in support of educational initiatives for underrepresented students in the hopes of fostering a more inclusive media environment for talented communications professionals.”
Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School, said she is grateful for Iger’s many contributions to the Park School, from calling in to speak with freshman Park students during S’Park to connecting students with resources in the media industry.
“In his recent talk with the S’Park class, I asked him to reflect on the many initiatives and business deals he’s led at Disney that have transformed the media industry and what changes he feels still need to be made as he prepares for his own retirement,” she said via email. “He quickly responded that he was proud that today’s media companies like Disney have made some recent strides in including more diverse individuals in their content but that he felt not nearly enough progress has been made in increasing the diversity among the ranks of writers, reporters and executive decision-makers. The Iger-Bay Scholarship is one important step in creating the pipeline of well-educated young professionals who can step into those roles.”