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Penn Alumnus Maury Povich's $1 Million Gift to Kelly Writers House

March 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 26

povich, chung

Television talk-show host and University of Pennsylvania alumnus Maury Povich is making a $1 million gift to Penn’s Kelly Writers House to establish the Povich Fund for Journalism Programs.

In announcing the gift, Dr. Al Filreis, director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW) and faculty director of the Kelly Writers House said, “Maury Povich has long been a friend of the Writers House and of Penn, having previously provided funding for journalism in the curriculum.”

In 2006, Mr. Povich, C’62, and his wife, TV journalist Connie Chung, enabled the CPCW and School of Arts and Sciences to appoint Dick Polman as the first-ever full-time Povich Writer-in-Residence. On October 10, 2006, Mr. Povich and Ms. Chung visited the House to inaugurate the Povich Writer-in-Residence. Mr. Polman, a full-time member of the CPCW faculty, has been teaching courses in advanced journalism and a political blogging class. He is a political columnist and daily blogger for The Inquirer where he spent 22 years on the writing staff; most recently, as the national political writer from 1992 to 2006.

“Now, we feel, Maury is completing the scene, by making it possible for us at the Writers House to organize the events and programs in support of the classroom learning already taking place in this rapidly changing field of writing,” Dr. Filreis said. “We are grateful to Maury—and to Connie—for their strong belief in what we do at 3805 Locust Walk.”

The Povich Fund will support seminars, workshops, presentations, talks and symposia in journalistic nonfiction writing in all its forms at the Writers House as well as visits to the House by both eminent and emergent writers in the field of journalism.

Mr. Povich said, “The Kelly Writers House is a unique opportunity for writers both in the fiction and nonfiction fields.  Connie and I have an unabiding admiration for journalists, particularly those who have taken on the challenges of journalism in this new media age. Al Filreis is the perfect captain to navigate these waters and provide the Kelly House writers with an opportunity like no other college institution.”

During their 2006 visit to KWH, Ms. Chung said that Mr. Povich developed his passion for journalism because he admired the reporting skills of his father—the legendary Washington Post sportswriter Shirley Povich—who joined the Post as a reporter in 1923 during his second year as a Georgetown University law student, and in 1925 was named editor of sports. In 1933, he became a sports columnist, a responsibility that continued until his death, with only one interruption. In 1944, he took on the assignment of Washington Post war correspondent in the Pacific Theater. Following World War II, he returned to his sports desk. He was the sports editor for the Post for 41 years. He celebrated his retirement in 1973, but continued to write more than 500 pieces and cover the World Series for the Post. He would write about both the modern game and memories of years past. At the time of his death, he was one of few working writers who had covered Babe Ruth. In fact, his final column was in the Post the day after his death at age 92.


Almanac - March 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 26