MOORHEAD — The Minnesota State University Moorhead School of Communication and Journalism dedicated its Marcil Center for Innovative Journalism on Wednesday, May 3, with thank yous from administrators and students.
The Marcil Center, a collaboration between Forum Communications and MSUM, was established in 2013 with a $1 million gift from Forum Communications to support scholarships, internships, research and residencies by communications professionals.
To commemorate the partnership and showcase Forum Communications milestones, MSUM unveiled a showcase in the Marcil Center in the dedication ceremony Wednesday.
“I really see this as a day to celebrate a relationship,” said Aaron Quanbeck, an associate professor in the school of communication. “We’re very, very thankful for that relationship.”
President Anne Blackhurst noted that the relationship between MSUM and Forum Communications goes back decades, really to 1917, when the Black and Marcil families took ownership of The Forum.
At the time, she said, MSUM was still known as Moorhead Normal School, a term used for colleges that taught teachers.
Since then, the world has undergone significant changes, and Forum Communications has both narrated and curated those developments in the region, Blackhurst said. Also in the years since, “hundreds and hundreds” of MSUM graduates have found careers in journalism and communications after receiving practical experience at Forum Communications newspapers and broadcast stations, she said.
“Thank you Bill and Jane and Bill and Chris,” Blackhurst said, referring to Bill Sr. and Jane Marcil and Bill Jr. and Chris Marcil. William C. Marcil, the elder Marcil, is chairman of Forum Communications; Bill Jr. is the company’s chief executive officer and publisher of The Forum.
“Thank you for your enduring partnership with MSUM,” she added.
Two students, both Marcil Center student apprentices, thanked Forum Communications for the practical experiences they gained through the partnership.
“There’s so much going on and as much as you put into it you’ll get out of it,” said student Derek Fletcher, whose hands-on experience involved working on Forum Communications websites. “It was an overall great experience.”
Another student, Lexi Byler, appreciated the real-world application of her apprenticeship. “We got thrown in right away doing hands-on work,” she said. “It’s impossible to summarize how valuable that’s been.”
Bill Marcil Sr. recalled that almost exactly 50 years earlier he stood in McLean Hall to dedicate the Norman Black Library; Norman B. Black bought The Forum in 1917.
Another noteworthy moment came in 1970 with a $40,000 contribution, then one of the university’s largest private gifts.
“The relationship with Moorhead State has been beneficial to us, certainly,” he said. “It’s a great two-way street. This is a partnership we’ve enjoyed for 100 years,” and one the company will look forward to continuing over the next century, Marcil said.