West Virginia University Reed College of Media Alumnus, Bob Kittle, and his wife Luanne continued their support for the college by pledging the largest donation in the school’s history.
“My wife Luanne and I decided to contribute to the Reed College as a way of promoting excellence in journalism and, more broadly, as a way of helping West Virginia,” Bob Kittle said. “Good journalism is the engine of social progress. Excellence in journalism is a promising way to help West Virginia overcome its economic and social challenges.”
Bob and Luanne originally intended to include the Reed College in their wills, but when they discovered that federal law allows tax-deferred contributions up to $100,000 a year from retirement savings, they decided there might be a better way.
The donation will begin when Bob Kittle, now 66, turns 70 ½ and will be distributed over a number of years.
“Instead of saying this gift is for this particular activity or this particular project, the Kittles have invested in the college for the long term,” said Diana Martinelli, dean of the Reed College of Media. “They trust in us to use it in ways that are going to enhance journalism education and also, by extension, enhance journalism in the state, so it’s a very exciting gift.”
Bob Kittle serves on the College of Media Advisory Board and was the editor-in-chief of the Daily Athenaeum throughout college, according to WVNews. Bob and Luanne Kittle have donated to the school for more than three decades, according to a news release from WVU.
“I’m very impressed with how the Reed College prepares young journalists to succeed in the rapidly changing media environment,” Kittle said. “This gift will help the college in this vital endeavor.”
Kittle has worked as a former White House correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, but spent most of his career as editorial page editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He’s also appeared frequently on NPR and PBS.
After working as a teacher and assistant director, Luanne Kittle became Director of The Rhoades School in Encinitas, California. Throughout her almost 20 years as director, enrollment grew to 300, two classrooms and a lab building were constructed, and curricular programs continued to expand.
Before the Kittle's donation, the highest was from James R. Hunkler, a Reed College of Media alumnus living in Columbus, Ohio. In 2018, he left over $500,000 to the Reed College in his will, according to Joshua Walters, director of development at the Reed College.
Dean Martinelli said that donations like this are important to the Reed College because they allow for improvements in facilities, opportunities to bring in professionals, support for students who are traveling for special projects and keeping the rest of the state up-to-date with trainings and workshops.
“What I love about the Kittles gift, especially, [is] it gives us freedom to use the money in ways we feel are important in the short term and also for planning in the long term,” Martinelli said.