The Ted Turner Story

(Photos courtesy Turner Family Collection via CNN)

One of the crown jewels of the Turner Broadcasting portfolio, CNN, with 24-hour news and breaking, on-the-ground coverage of watershed historical events, fundamentally changed the way individuals and governments around the world access and consume news. TBS and TNT along with the other Turner properties helped advance Ted’s vision and the way that people are informed and governed, inspired, mobilized, and entertained.

Turner has also made his mark as one of the most influential philanthropists in the U.S. Along with environmental work, in 1997 he pledged $1 billion to the United Nations and a year later created the United Nations Foundation.

Throughout his career Ted Turner has been recognized for his unprecedented philanthropy, media and business entrepreneurship skills, and the ultimate vision that transformed cable TV.

The School of Media and Public Affairs and Frank Sesno

The School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) has a long and deep connection with Ted Turner. SMPA Director Frank Sesno spent 21 years of his career as a CNN White House Correspondent, anchor and DC Bureau Chief. As director, Frank Sesno established Planet Forward, a project of the Center for Innovative Media that teaches, celebrates, and rewards environmental storytelling by college students. It is the premier engagement tool for GW’s many sustainability initiatives. With the support of the Ted Turner Endowed Fund, SMPA’s sentinel environmental storytelling platform can be amplified and have an ongoing and lasting impact among new generations.

(Photo courtesy Frank Sesno)

A Robust Network

The SMPA community also benefits from access to an extensive network, events with political and media leaders and a prime location to explore the interplay of media and politics. SMPA is supported by a robust group of leaders such as Sam Feist, CNN Washington Bureau Chief; Chuck Todd, political director and moderator of Meet the Press; Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Presidential Commission on Debates; Reena Ninan, anchor CBSN; A’Lelia Bundles, author and former producer NBC News; Phil Kent, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.; Judi Allen, senior VP of client solutions at Nielsen; Char Beales, former president and CEO of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM); and John Lansing, CEO National Public Radio. 

"As decadeslong environmental activists and philanthropists, we are pleased to support this effort in honor of our dear friend, Ted Turner. Current and future generations will hopefully know the vital positive impact they can have on this planet. With their help we can work toward a future that is sustainable for all."


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Matt Cannella, Director of Development 

GW Columbian College of Arts & Sciences