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The Jack J. Valenti School of Communication gets a facelift

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for renovation and new construction project


October 11, 2011

Picture of front of the renovated building

The new entry of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication

For years, the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication existed within a classic public relations paradox.

The academic unit dedicated to teaching and researching effective communication skills was practically physically invisible on campus.

“You couldn’t find the building,” said UH alumnus Lance Funston. “And if you did find it, it looked like something that should have been torn down years ago.”

Funston made it his mission to solve the paradox and bring visibility and beauty to the building bearing the name of his mentor Jack Valenti, a UH alumnus who was a speechwriter and special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and the longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

On Monday, the first phase of that mission was completed with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $3.7 million new construction and renovation project that included creation of a signature entry for the school and the addition of the Lance T. Funston Communication Center.

“Now with the renovations that have occurred, the school has a face,” said Dean John W. Roberts. “We now have a facility for our faculty and students that really matches their aspirations and their ambitions to be an outstanding program of communication in this country.”

Provost John Antel noted that the Valenti School sits within a campus precinct dedicated to design, arts, culture and communication. The Blaffer Art Museum, which is closed for its own renovations, also is located in the same quadrant.

“This keeps up the momentum,” Antel said of the Valenti formal opening.

“The new facility is critical to student success and UH’s commitment to providing a Tier One education to communication students,” said Beth Olson, director of the Valenti School.

Randall Gay, a senior majoring in media production, praised the renovated building as a tangible sign of community, CLASS and University “support for our dreams.”

“I think I can speak for all of my fellow students when I say that these new facilities mean the world to us,” said Gay, one of 1,900 undergraduate students and 82 graduate students enrolled in the Valenti School.

In addition to Funston and his family, others attending the ceremony included Jack Valenti’s sister Lorraine Dinerstein and Vincent and Lu Caltagirone with their daughter Lauren Caltagirone. Board of Regents Chair Nelda Luce Blair and Regents Welcome Wilson Jr., Spencer D. Armour III and Tamecia Glover Harris also attended. Former Regent s James Greer and Welcome Wilson Sr., as well as Wayne Wickman, personal friends of Funston and Valenti, were also present.

- Shannon Buggs

Photo Gallery

Jack J. Valenti School of Communication Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, Monday, October 10, 2011

Symbols of a job completed

 Symbols of a job completed 
Lead donor Lance Funston

Lead donor Lance Funston said it was “overwhelming”
to see his name etched into a building
A Valenti School student test drives a new camera

A Valenti School student test drives a new camera
Provost John Antel brings greetings

Provost John Antel brings greetings
Dean John W. Roberts thanks the donors

Dean John W. Roberts thanks the donors
 Former Regent Welcome Wilson Sr. and other guests

Former Regent Welcome Wilson Sr. and other guests
Valenti family, friends and faculty cut the ceremonial ribbon in the brand-new media production studio

 Valenti family, friends and faculty cut the ceremonial
ribbon in the brand-new media production studio

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