The recent contribution will enable the department to recruit an eminent scholar who specializes in the study of the media's influence on social behavior. The chair will be named for the founder of the foundation, Arthur N. Rupe.
In making the gift, Rupe said he is pleased to be associated with UCSB in such a meaningful way, and hopes the endowed chair will "bring increased understanding to significant and innovative issues related to the effects of the media on human behavior and society, and that it will ultimately impact public policy in this important area."
Rupe became interested in the social implications of mass communication during World War II when the American government mobilized the country for war with a carefully crafted media campaign. At the same time, German dictator Adolph Hitler effectively used propaganda to manipulate his nation into accepting his brutal policies, said Rupe.
"We are elated and grateful that Mr. Rupe offered to endow the new Arthur N. Rupe Chair in the Social Effects of Mass Communication at UCSB," said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. "His endowment is a timely recognition of the high visibility and quality of our Department of Communication. Such support is an inspiration to the scholarly activities of our world-class campus."
"The Communication Department is very excited about the prospects of its first endowed chair," said David Seibold, department chair. "The Rupe Chair is a cornerstone of the department's mass communication area, and it will ensure the department's preeminence in media effects research for many years to come."
UCSB is recognized as having one of the premier departments of communication in the country. Its outstanding faculty attract large grants such as the $3.5 million award supporting the National Television Violence Study, which has received worldwide recognition for its analysis of violence on television.
"This endowed chair will certainly solidify the mass communication emphasis at the university as perhaps the best in the country," said Edward Donnerstein, acting dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science where the Arthur N. Rupe Chair will be housed.
Endowed chairs, which are highly prized academic positions, are supported by earnings from invested funds. While the state budget pays for the faculty member's salary, the proceeds from the endowment provide research money and support for instruction that are important in the recruitment and retention of the world's greatest scholars.
The Arthur N. Rupe Chair brings to 25 the number of endowed chairs at the university.