UT college gets largest cash gift in its history to form professorship

UT’s College of Communication and Information was given a $1 million cash gift, the largest in the history of the college, from alumnus Larry Patrick to establish a professorship to honor Journalism and Electronic Media Professor Emeritus Herb Howard.

Larry-Patrick
Alumnus Larry Patrick recently became the largest benefactor in the history of UT’s College of Communication and Information with his cash gift of $1 million. Photo courtesy of UT Media Relations.

The Herb Howard Distinguished Professorship in Media Management and Law will eventually be combined with a $5 million estate gift Patrick plans to leave behind and will establish an endowed chair, also to honor Howard.

After getting his master’s degree at Ohio University, Howard, a Johnson City, Tenn. native, joined the UT faculty to teach classes in broadcasting, journalism and communications research and serve as a research consultant for the National Association of Broadcasters.

Howard also served as the college’s associate dean for graduate studies and research and as acting dean of the college twice. He retired from UT in 1999, but still voices Knoxville’s viewer-supported public television station, WEPT-TV.

Patrick graduated with a master’s degree from CCI in 1973 and later went on to earn a doctorate in communications and management at Ohio University and a law degree from Georgetown University. As the former chair of the college’s Board of Visitors, he received the university’s highest honor given to alumni, the Distinguished Alumni Award, in 2012.

Patrick is currently managing partner of Patrick Communications LLC and has handled hundreds of radio and television broadcasting deals totaling more than $7.5 billion during his career.

“I am honored to be recognized for my efforts to create a legacy gift to the university,” Patrick said in a press release Friday. “My desire to honor Herb Howard reflects his lifetime of service to the university, and serves as a thanks from one of the many students who benefited by having Dr. Howard as a teacher. UT is a very special place to me and I am fortunate to repay all that UT did for me with this gift.”

Edited by Zach Dennis