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Jack Clifford, a television industry leader for more than 50 years and an ardent supporter of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, is the recipient of this year’s Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service.
Clifford, a member of the Cronkite Endowment Board, received the award Dec. 15 at the school’s fall convocation ceremonies at Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on the Tempe campus. He is the second recipient of the award.
“Jack Clifford has been a true friend to the Cronkite School,” said Dean Christopher Callahan. “He has selflessly given of his time and expertise. From guest lecturing in our classes to chairing an important fundraising campaign, Jack has continually demonstrated his commitment to the Cronkite School. His support, advice and friendship are simply invaluable to the Cronkite School, and if I may say, to me personally.”
Clifford is spearheading a $5 million fundraising campaign for the school’s nationally recognized broadcast journalism program, and last month made a personal donation of $500,000, the largest gift by an individual in Cronkite history.
Clifford, who got his start in the broadcast industry during college, worked in Phoenix in the early days of his career, starting as the first sports anchor at KTVK-TV in 1957 before switching to sales the next year. In 1962 he began working in the sales department at KTAR-TV in Phoenix and became the station’s president and general manager eight years later.
Clifford then worked in several media markets until he landed in Rhode Island with the Providence Journal Co., where he was executive vice president. Clifford developed the company’s electronic media business into one of the nation’s largest broadcast TV, cable television and TV programming companies. He founded the Food Network and Northwest Cable News.
The Cronkite School, which was named in honor of longtime CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite in 1984, is a nationally accredited school that focuses on professional journalism education on the undergraduate and master’s levels. The school has 1,700 students and has finished in the Top 10 of the highly competitive Hearst intercollegiate journalism awards for the past five years.