Committed to Ted

(Photo courtesy Turner Family Collection via CNN)

For the past few years, a number of Ted’s friends and colleagues — many of whom owe their success to the opportunities Ted and Turner Broadcasting afforded them early in their careers — have talked about honoring Ted and his unparalleled contributions to media and journalism. This fitting tribute, in content and location, will support and empower future generations of journalists and media professionals, just as Ted helped to change the world and enable the success of so many others.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR

"I believe Ted Turner has always been ahead of his time on all the major issues of our time, from media, to arms control, to fostering global understanding to recognizing our climate crisis. As a storyteller I have followed this mandate, to be brave and always tell the truth no matter who it angers! I believe every generation now needs to learn the truth about our climate emergency, and also the solutions that are already out there, if only our governments would wake up and act.”

CNN's Chief International Anchor, Christiane is a fearless and internationally acclaimed journalist who has covered some of the most wrenching stories around the world.

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DANA BASH

"As a proud GW alumnae and a lifelong employee of CNN, I am beyond honored to support the Ted Turner Endowment Fund. The notion of 24 hour cable news seems obvious now, but that was hardly the case when he invented it. But Ted Turner was not just ahead of his time with CNN, he was an early and fierce activist to combat the climate crisis. His passion is contagious, and scholarship in his name is the perfect tribute.”

CNN's Chief Political Correspondent, SMPA graduate, and GW distinguished alumni award winner, Dana has been covering campaigns and Congress in the D.C. area for more than 20 years. In 2017, Dana launched her CNN series, Badass Women of Washington, which features women who shattered glass ceilings on their way up the ranks.

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WOLF BLITZER

"Ted Turner has always been an inspiration to me. When he hired me, he said: ‘Remember: the news comes first. We’re the Cable NEWS Network.’ And for the past 30 years it has been an honor to deliver on that directive. I'm grateful for all Ted has done for me and for all our viewers in the United States and around the world." 

 

As anchor of The Situation Room, Wolf has been a lead political reporter and face of CNN for more than 30 years.  He's interviewed all U.S. Presidents since Gerald Ford, world leaders from Nelson Mandela to Margaret Thatcher, and hosted Democratic and Republican debates and town halls. He also received an honorary doctorate from GW in 2007.

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JULIAN BRODSKY

“It is exciting that this tribute to Ted is going forward. It is Ted’s genius, daring, imagination and charisma that puts him in the forefront of those who changed the Cable Industry from a reception service to an entertainment medium, which in turn changed the viewing habits of the country. For that, we in the industry will be forever grateful to him."

Media pioneer and co-founder of Comcast, Julian served as its CFO and went on to be elected Vice Chairman. Julian also founded Comcast's venture capital fund, Comcast Interactive Capital Group, and is an honorary director of the Cable Center.

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ANN CARLSEN

“The Ted Turner Professor of Environmental Media is a fitting tribute to a larger-than-life man who is a visionary with a sharp worldview and a strong sense of right and wrong. He is the personification of an entrepreneur who defined and built an industry through sheer will and by refusing to take no for an answer. He was one of my first clients and taught me the value of pushing past your fears…and changing what you don’t like about your circumstances.  His big vision of helping the world better understand itself through understanding of global and national issues is just what is needed to teach and inspire us all to action.”

An internationally respected executive search leader, consultant, coach and champion of workplace diversity, Ann is a results-oriented strategist having placed more than 2,700 exceptional executives and rising stars in critical industry roles over the span of 30 years. She was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2012; National Cable Television Association (NCTA) presented her with its Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership, the organization’s highest honor; she was awarded Women in Cable and Telecommunication’s (WICT) Woman of the Year honor and served as its national president and chairwoman of the foundation.

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JOY DIBENEDETTO

"Ted Turner said, 'Do something. Lead, Follow or Get out of the way.' Ted has always been a leader, whether he was chasing waves in the Americas Cup, chasing pennants with the Atlanta Braves, or chasing global journalism with CNN, he showed us how to lead with courage and vision. The Ted Turner endowment will make sure that young minds continue to be influenced by his generous and unique passion to change the world."

Joy has spent her career at the merged intersection of global media and social good. She joined Turner Broadcasting in 1993, with many years of service to CNN Worldwide, inspired by the vision that Ted Turner had that media and information could change the world for the better, bringing our tiny planet closer together.

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SAM FEIST

"Ted Turner changed the world of journalism and in turn helped change the world. Ted Turner’s vision certainly changed my life and The Ted Turner Fund will help extend Ted’s remarkable impact by training a new generation of journalists.”

As CNN's Washington bureau chief and senior vice president, Sam leads all newsgathering and Washington-based programming, including: The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Lead with Jake Tapper, State of the Union, and Inside Politics.

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TERRI GUNNELL

"Ted encouraged me to keep working hard and his advice was to offer to learn something new whenever I had the chance, and if that chance didn’t present itself it was up to me to make it happen."

Terri is the Executive Vice President, Head of Monetization and Data Platforms for WarnerMedia NYC. She previously worked for Turner and Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., for nearly 20 years.

Read Terri's blog post for more about her work with Ted. 

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AMOS B. HOSTETTER JR.

"For decades, I have admired and been inspired by Ted's tireless effort to build and transform global news through CNN. Many of us in the cable industry worked alongside him to connect people to each other and to the broader world. As we look to the future and the climate and environmental challenges before us, Ted's example once again serves as a guide — we need to think big and act decisively."

After co-founding Continental Cablevision, which grew to be the third largest cable television system operator in the country, Amos served on the National Cable Television Association board and was a founding director and chairman of C-SPAN and of Cable in the Classroom. He continues to change the world through the Barr Foundation with $1B in philanthropy to climate, education, arts & creativity causes.

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EASON JORDAN

"Ted is a trailblazer and an inspiration. He is a treasured friend and mentor to many of us. This is the least we can do to thank and honor Ted for many years to come.”

Always with a focus on how CNN could get its cameras, reporters, and producers to the most remote corners of the world, Eason helped the network gain access to some of the biggest stories on the planet — from earthquakes in Pakistan to the very first waves of American bombing in Iraq during the first Gulf War. 

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PHIL KENT

"Ted Turner changed the world and the world of news. There is no better way to honor his legacy than with this mission and platform at the School of Media and Public Affairs in our nation's capital."

As Chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System from 2003 until 2013, Phil held one of the most influential and prestigious jobs in media. He oversaw all aspects of the business — news, sports, and entertainment alike — and led Turner Broadcasting through its digital transformation.

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PHIL LIND

"I know that Ted Turner and his invaluable partner, Terry McGuirk, saw me as a way to expand his broadcast reach into our U.S. cable systems (that we had at the time) and in Canada.  I saw Ted as a buccaneer, much like my partner, Ted Rogers.  But beyond that, I knew that Ted was a guy who loved to fish.  When we were in Russia for the Goodwill Games, he really wanted to be on the Ponoi River and when he came to Canada to speak at our conventions, I knew that a side trip of fishing would really satisfy him.  In these environments Ted was at his absolute best.”

As Vice Chairman of Rogers Communications in Canada, Phil has been with Rogers for over 50 years. He worked closely with company founder, Ted Rogers, as his right-hand man. When Phil joined Rogers, the company owned two radio stations and had a mere 15,000 cable subscribers. Today, the company has millions of cable subscribers and over 11 million cellular customers. Phil led the company's efforts to successfully acquire several cable and broadcasting systems in Canada. As Chairman of Rogers U.S. Cablesystems, Phil led the company’s successful expansion into the U.S., and in 1989, he played an integral role in the sale of Rogers’ U.S. assets.  In 2012, Phil was inducted into the US Cable Hall of Fame.

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TERRY McGUIRK

"I was fortunate to work with Ted from nearly the beginning and had a front row seat to watch and assist in bringing his visions to life, first with superstation TBS, then CNN and then the Turner Broadcasting stable of networks. Outside of television, his purchase of the Atlanta Braves and placing them on TBS made them America's team through the vast audience around the country that got to watch the team every night. We shared a love of sailing, so it’s been no surprise to see him shift his attention towards the environment and how to keep our lands and water safe from harm."

Chairman & CEO of Braves Holdings, LLC, the parent company of the Atlanta Braves and Braves Development Company, Terry oversees all aspects of the franchise. He spent 35 years at TBS, beginning in 1972 as an account executive with WTCG, which later became TBS Superstation. During his tenure, he secured coverage of the Olympics for cable television. As executive vice president, Terry served as the company's second in command from 1991 to 1996. When TBS, Inc. merged with Time Warner Inc. in 1996, he succeeded Ted Turner as chairman, president and CEO.

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SEN. SAM NUNN

"When Ted was 'fully employed,' he won the America’s Cup and the World Series, started a communications revolution, launched the Goodwill Games and turned the world of philanthropy on its head with his groundbreaking charitable giving. Since Ted 'retired,' he has launched efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, strengthen the United Nations, and save the planet. He has the ability to see what others can’t, take risks others won’t, set goals others find breathtaking and invest his time, his passion, his intellect, and his resources to turn dreams into reality.  
 

"When Ted called me in early 2000 to propose an effort to reduce nuclear dangers, he had just seen a report on '60 Minutes II' and he told me: 'Sam, I thought that the nuclear threat ended when the Cold War ended. We’ve got to get rid of nuclear weapons.' With Ted as co-chair, over the last 20 years the Nuclear Threat Initiative has helped focus governments worldwide on securing nuclear materials and preventing catastrophic terrorism and helped develop and galvanize a global movement in support of a vision of a world without nuclear weapons."

As Co-Chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Sam has dedicated his life to public service. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Nunn served as chairman of the  Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program provided assistance for more than 20 years to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

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MIKE & MARY PLANT

"As an avid, highly successful sportsman, Ted always saw the value that competition and inclusivity could bring to the global stage. I worked alongside him to bring the Goodwill Games to life and in executing on his vision, we were able to captivate audiences and promote unity."

Mike is in his 18th sea­son with the Braves and his third as President & CEO of Braves Development Company. He was instrumental in the Braves’ efforts to secure and plan Truist Park and the adjacent mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta, which opened in April 2017. Previously Mike was EVP of Turner Sports, and President of The Goodwill Games. 

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RICHARD ROTH

"I am the longest serving CNN employee in history.  I still can't believe I was there at the start of the world's first 24 hour news network. From Rome to the UN I have deep personal memories of encounters with Ted.  As the environment and the media come under attack, there is nothing more important than keeping Ted's foresight and vision advancing."

As Senior U.N. correspondent and longest serving employee, Richard has been on the front lines since CNN went live in 1980. From reporting at Ground Zero after 9/11 to covering the fall of the Berlin Wall, Richard has brought CNN's breaking news to a global audience for four decades.

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LOUISE SAMS

Louise joined Turner Broadcasting in 1993 and was instrumental in its growth, serving as General Counsel and as its former President. She is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees for Princeton University. She is an expert in the law and a lifelong learner and global traveler.

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GAIL SERMERSHEIM

"Those of us who spent our working lives in the cable industry tend to think of Ted as the personification of everything it took launch and drive the Cable Revolution forward: Unparalleled determination and perseverance mixed with unbridled joy and enthusiasm. His impact on our industry and our working lives was extraordinary. So much moved forward because Ted was pulling or pushing the sled.  At times, it even seemed that he willed things to happen, and they did! Preserving the lessons he taught us and the world is a worthwhile and noble endeavor.”

During 25 years as an executive with HBO, Gail built and maintained a highly respected affiliate relations, sales and marketing team in the  Southeast.  Throughout her career on both the operating and programming side of cable, She is credited with founding WICT and serving as its first president and was also a co-founder of CTAM.

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STU SNYDER

"Ted is a true visionary who has created change throughout the world. He has inspired generations and continues to positively impact the world through his many initiatives and ideas. It was an honor and pleasure to work and learn from him.”

Stu culminated his 13-year tenure at Turner Broadcasting as President & COO of the company’s Animation, Young Adults and Kid Media Division; Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Boomerang garnering multiple Emmy Awards. In leadership roles with Turner, WWE and Feld Entertainment, Stu supported kids and families through the creation of Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative, representing Turner as a Boys & Girls Club National Trustee and supporting The Captain Planet Foundation.

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ALESSIO VINCI

"Journalism is my passion, and Ted Turner made my dream come true. His pioneering approach to television news combined with his unrelenting fight for the environment and for a better world way before they became trending features for most corporations, make him one of the most remarkable modern visionaries."

Chief Communications Officer at Zurich Insurance Group and prior to that, Alessio was an anchor and talk show host in Italy.  An award-winning journalist, he has also covered events surrounding the dramatic shifts in the political, economic and social landscape following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  He started his career at CNN in 1989, where he worked as assignment editor, correspondent and bureau chief, reporting from the front-lines of many war-zones, including the Former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

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BARBARA YORK

"I have had the privilege to work under so many of the names listed on this tribute page when they served as Chairpersons of the NCTA Convention. I don’t think any of them will be surprised to know that during the years that Ted served as Chairman of the Show, the planning meetings were fast-paced, blue-sky and rollicking. But onsite, Ted was different – he attended every event; welcomed every interest group; addressed the general sessions and brought with him the bold-faced names from his networks; walked the exhibit floor; dutifully ate every dry sandwich and piece of rubber chicken; and surprised the installers and worker bees by all of sudden being present, asking about their job and making it a memorable moment. It was indeed an honor and a pleasure to work with Ted.”

 

Barbara had a 36-year career as SVP at NCTA – The Internet & Television Association – during a time of unparalleled industry growth. Among her many responsibilities, she managed 35 cable conventions, which were the largest for the industry. She was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2007.

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DECKER ANSTROM

"Ted imagined and helped build cable television, and reinvented news and journalism on a global scale. He has now brought his vision and determination to confront the climate crisis -- and save our planet."

While CEO of The Weather Channel Companies, Decker introduced audiences to the challenge of climate change. He served in the Carter Administration, and later as President of the National Cable Television Association and as a U.S. Ambassador on international telecommunications issues in the Obama Administration. He serves on the board of Island Press and Climate Central, in addition to supporting various nonprofits. He also is a former Discovery Communication board member.

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CHAR BEALES

“GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs is the ideal home for the Ted Turner Endowed Fund. It combines an unparalleled media education program with a major voice in Washington with Ted’s lifelong passion for the environment. Together we will ensure that Ted’s pioneering genius is celebrated and remembered in perpetuity.”

A groundbreaking leader and innovator as President and CEO of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), Char was inducted into Cable Television Hall of Fame in 2009. Char chaired the National Council of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs and has held multiple leadership roles at the University.

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LOU BORRELLI

“I was fortunate to meet Ted when he was making the rounds and CNN was an idea and a mission. His boundless enthusiasm was infectious, his commitment to success unwavering - there was no way to say no to Ted.  His success was our industry’s success and it changed the media landscape. I was happy to support him then and I feel privileged to be a part of the group supporting him and what he stands for now."

Currently the CEO of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Lou represents more than 700 broadband and cable operators serving 40 million video and broadband connections. Prior to joining NCTC, Lou served as CEO, Home and Entertainment for Digicel Group Ltd., which provides mobile phone, cable and broadband services to 27 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

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BILL BURKE

“Ted Turner is a unique visionary who changed journalism forever by creating CNN. He was also one the earliest high-profile leaders to sound the alarm about the threat of global climate change and insisted that his networks give the subject ample, in depth coverage.  This endowment to ensure continued journalism around vital environmental issues is a fitting tribute to Ted’s remarkable legacy.”

At Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner, Bill Burke was the founding general manager of Turner Classic Movies, president of TBS Superstation, and president and CEO of News and Information for Time Warner Digital Media.  He went on to become CEO of the Weather Channel Companies and later collaborated with Ted Turner as co-author of Ted’s New York Times Best-Selling autobiography, "Call Me Ted."

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BERT CARP

"In the late 1970s each of the Big Three broadcasters exhaustively debated the feasibility of a cable news network. While they dithered at the risks, and with none of their advantages, in 1980 real pioneers under Ted’s unmatched leadership launched CNN. This is a fitting tribute to him, and to them.”

Widely acknowledged as a senior and respected Democratic strategist, Bert spent 10 years as Vice President for Government Affairs of Turner Broadcasting and served on the executive committee. He has four decades of Washington experience.

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DAVID ENSOR

"We need strong, independent and truthful media in America as much as we ever have. That is why I support this effort in Ted Turner's name, to study and advocate for ways we can assure that our nation always protects and supports First Amendment journalism.”

Director of the GW Project for Media and National Security, a non-profit group convening reporters, and national security leaders in support of fact-based journalism, David has reported on the White House and international affairs for more than 30 years. He is a former CNN, ABC News and NPR correspondent & served as the 28th director of the Voice of America.

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BRAD FERRER

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, WarnerMedia News and Sports, Brad is responsible for the financial leadership of CNN US, CNN Digital, HLN, CNN International, Bleacher Report, and partnerships with the NBA, MLB, and NCAA.

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RICHARD GRIFFITHS

"Ted Turner’s CNN allowed the world to see itself more clearly, understand the momentous challenges that still threaten to destroy our planet, from nuclear war to climate change.”

A demanding editor and precise writer, Richard brought his discipline and precision to CNN’s editorial table every day, serving as CNN’s Vice President and Senior Editorial Director.

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KEN JAUTZ

“CNN has informed the world and brought it closer together like no other news organization. And that is due to Ted Turner’s vision and his unwavering support of an independent press. A fund in Ted’s name that helps train a new generation of journalists to report truthfully and fearlessly on the critical issues of our time is a fitting tribute.”

As EVP of CNN, Ken is responsible for the news group’s operations, its affiliate business, and the HLN network. He has led CNNfn, Headline News, and CNN-US programming, worked as a distribution executive in Europe, and served as CNN’s Germany bureau chief.

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MITRA KALITA

"Imagine my surprise when I arrived at CNN, with only experience in print and digital, and discovered 24-hour cable news to be all the things I love about the internet: accessible, intimate, immediate, on demand, democratized, no room for FOMO. This is testament to Ted Turner’s vision and legacy as an entrepreneur ahead of his times. I am ever grateful for the journalism he supported, the creativity he demanded, the history we all have witnessed, thanks to CNN.”

Storytelling is in Mitra's blood. As Senior VP for news, opinion and programming at CNN digital, her role is to creatively share CNN's content across an ever-expanding platform. She was previously the managing editor for editorial strategy at the LA Times.

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PARISA KHOSRAVI

"Ted is a true citizen of the world. He banned the word ‘foreign’ from CNN, both on air and in the newsroom. We even changed the name of our ‘Foreign Desk’ to the ‘International Desk.’ To him there were no foreigners — no ‘them’ and ‘us.’ We were all citizens of the world and CNN was an international news network. I am proud to have headed CNN's international news coverage and always think of Ted’s global vision whenever I hear the ‘F’ word: foreign.”

A 28-year veteran of CNN, Parisa worked her way up from an entry level position to become CNN’s Senior Vice President for international news gathering, national news gathering and first global ambassador for CNN Worldwide. Parisa directed the coverage of countless historic events and was recognized with numerous prestigious journalism awards, including multiple Emmys, Peabody, and Edward R. Murrow awards.

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SVEN & KRISTIN LINDBLAD

"Ted’s tireless commitment to lead us on the path of better stewardship with the environment has been an inspiration to countless millions of people. I met Ted in Svalbard — the Norwegian Arctic -— in 2008. He flew in accompanied by Jimmy and Roslyn Carter, three members of an illustrious group who would spend a week exploring the Arctic with the intention of finding cross sectoral ideas to combat climate change. I’ll never forget Ted’s passion as he insisted that this was an issue where we could not fail for our children’s sake."

Sven Lindblad is founder and co-chair of Lindblad Expeditions, a marine based travel enterprise that provides its guests an opportunity to explore the wonders of nature and culture globally. Sven is also on the Boards of the Safina Center, RARE, and Pristine Seas. His wife, Kristin, has a background in communications and non-profit consulting, and currently focuses on ocean conservation and their philanthropic efforts. She serves on the Board of Ocean Unite and the Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation and as an Advisor to Beneath the Waves, the Wild Aid Marine Program, and the Reefline Project of the Blue Lab Preservation Society. 

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PAT MITCHELL

"Few people can claim to have changed the world, but Ted Turner can because he did. He also changed lives, mine and others privileged to work with him — and millions of others whose minds were opened, actions influenced, and values shaped by the journalism on CNN, the documentaries, movies, and yes, even the cartoons his channels produced. Turner Broadcasting transformed the media landscape. With every cable channel Ted launched or transformative idea he pursued — even when others cautioned or doubted — his mission was to create media that would contribute to a better world. The most important thing I learned from Ted — and that I hope all who benefit from this Ted Turner Initiative will carry forward — was his instruction about everything we reported, produced, and distributed to the world: ‘Get it right!’”

A woman who helped define the media industry as a CEO and producer, Pat has focused her career on using media as a force for social change. With a special emphasis on the representation of women's voices she was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009. She was named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood.

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RON AND JANE OLSON

"There is no more loyal or generous friend than Ted Turner. We have felt blessed to be in his orbit, an association which has enriched and expanded our understanding of global citizenship. Ted’s creative mind and his sense of personal responsibility led to his creation of the Goodwill Games between the USSR and USA, his pledge of one billion dollars to the UN, and his creation of the UN Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. His contributions to environmental causes are widely visible across our country and beyond — stunning to behold! Ted is a giant whose life will be celebrated by generations to come."

Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP where he has practiced law since 1968, Ron Olson’s practice involves a combination of litigation and corporate counseling. He is a director of Berkshire Hathaway, Western Asset Trusts and Provivi. He also serves as a director of several nonprofits, including the California Institute of Technology and ProPublica. Jane Olson has devoted her life to international justice and humanitarian work. She chaired the International Board of Human Rights Watch and also the boards of Landmine Survivors Network and the Women’s Refugee Network. Jane is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations.

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BRIAN L. ROBERTS

"Ted Turner changed my life. He invited me to serve on his board in 1986 – when I was only 27. I got to see him build, grow, and transform the television industry – and the world in many respects – in a few short years. His vision and passion for using media and technology to inform the public inspires me still. His genius is outshone only by his integrity, generosity, and humanitarianism.  Like my own father Ralph, he was an incredible mentor. I will always be grateful to Ted Turner."

Brian is Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation.  Under his leadership, Comcast has grown into a global company uniquely positioned at the intersection of media and technology with three primary businesses, Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky.

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TOM RUTLEDGE

"Ted Turner started with trying to change television and proceeded to personally change the world by spreading information far and wide. He saw the future of communications and he built it first as an entrepreneur and then as a corporate leader. Ted made us all smarter and enriched the world with business success and civic responsibility. This endowment is both a tribute to Ted and a way to help give others a chance to do it in their time.”

Tom Rutledge is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Charter Communications, which under the Spectrum brand provides Internet, TV, Voice and Mobile communications to more than 32 million customers in 41 states, with more than 93,000 employees.

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SCOTT SASSA

Scott is credited with building Turner’s entertainment cable channels into industry leaders, launching seven networks over a seven‐year period. He joined Turner Broadcasting in 1988 and finished his tenure as president of Turner Entertainment Group and a member of the Turner Board of Directors and the TBS Executive Committee.

 

Read Scott's blog post for more about his work with Ted.

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FRANK SESNO

"Ted Turner inspired all of us at CNN to take risks, dig deep, and go anywhere in the world to report the news. He was a brash innovator who defied convention and utterly transformed the way people get their news and information."

Director of Strategic Initiatives at the George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs and past Director for more than a decade, Frank brought together this remarkable group of people to honor Ted Turner at GW. Frank worked at CNN for 21 years as White House Correspondent, anchor, talk show host, and Washington Bureau Chief. 

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STEVE STAHL

"It all started by accepting a $4.15 an hour entry-level job, which perplexed many of my classmates, when other opportunities would have paid more. That wound up being the best decision of my life.  Opportunity is a difficult thing to price for a salary.  Thank You, Ted!"

Shortly after graduating in 1984, Steve joined CNN as an entry-level, video-journalist. Throughout the course of his nearly 30 years with the company, he held many operations management posts including Audio Supervisor, CNN & HLN Master Control Supervisor, and CNN & HLN Production Manager. He spent nearly a decade with CNN as Director of Technical Operations of the DC Bureau.  Stahl also was involved in facility design for the network, with projects in Atlanta, NYC and DC. 

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WENDY WALKER

"Ted Turner changed my life and defined my career. At age 25 I became a CNN original. I was honored to work at CNN for 32 years, covering every major story from 1980 to 2012. It was not work, it was a passion. CNN will always be my home in my heart.  Ted Turner changed the world and he changed me. I will be forever grateful for my career, his vision and compassion for the planet."

Emmy award winning Wendy Walker is a CNN Original. Wendy organized the Washington D.C. Bureau in 1980 and went on to be the Senior Executive Producer of CNN's White House coverage for ten years. She was also Senior Executive Producer of Larry King Live for 18 years as well as an Executive Vice President of CNN. Her career at CNN spanned 32 years.

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DAVID ZASLAV

"Discovery has long been committed to telling stories of our planet, the natural world, and all of its creatures...since our founding in 1985. We salute Ted's incredible career and accomplishments on and off the screen.  As a visionary in media, a pioneering leader in journalism, and a conservationist, Ted has had an enormous impact on our world. Discovery is proud and honored to support the endowment and Ted's vision, which combines his two greatest passions - journalism and the environment - and will be instrumental in creating the next generation of environmental storytellers."

As President & CEO of Discovery Inc, David led the network to become a Fortune 500 company in 2014, and acquired Scripps Networks Interactive in 2018, making it the #1 most-watched pay-TV portfolio in the U.S. He was inducted into the prestigious Cable Hall of Fame in 2017 and into the Cable TV Pioneers Class of 2018. Prior to joining Discovery, David had a distinguished career at NBCUniversal, where he was instrumental in developing and launching CNBC and also played a role in the creation of MSNBC.

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LOUIS BACON

"Ted Turner’s incredible accomplishments in his life and media career are well documented, but to me, he has always been a titan in the area of conservation. A trip to Ted’s ranch La Primavera in Patagonia demonstrated to me the depth and breadth of his efforts and experience. I count Ted alongside my father as the two figures who inspired me to preserve and protect wildlife habitats and bodies of water for future generations."

Founder, Chairman and principal investment manager of Moore Capital Management, Louis Bacon has dedicated his resources to support conservation non-profits that ensure the preservation of land, water and wildlife habitats for future generations. Louis was recognized for his commitment to conservation with several honors, including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, the Audubon Medal, the Chairman’s Leadership Award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Land Trust Alliance President’s Award.

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JEFF BEWKES

"Ted Turner changed the media landscape several times by inventing network after network... foremost among them is CNN which continues to change the world for the better."

 

As CEO of Time Warner for more than a decade and Chairman of the Board until its acquisition by AT&T in 2018, Jeff stood at the helm of a media empire whose portfolio included HBO, Turner Broadcasting (CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network), Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. Jeff is on the advisory board of the Creative Coalition and a Trustee at his alma maters, Stanford and Yale Universities.

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COLEMAN BRELAND

“Passionate. Purposeful. Persuasive. Ted is a comet, a force of the universe. Those of us who were fortunate enough to work at Turner Broadcasting saw up close the commitment that Ted possessed to make the world better through the many networks he envisioned and by being a fiery steward of the planet.”

Coleman worked for Turner Broadcasting for 24 years holding positions that included President of Turner Content Distribution and President of Turner Classic Movies.

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KATHY CALVIN

“Ted has been known and recognized by so many leaders for his impact on our environment and our world. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Ted a “farmer because he planted the seeds for change and understood you must give back to the land so it can care for us in the future.” His successor Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Ted “the UN’s best friend because he knew it would marry the public sector’s greatest needs with the private sector’s greatest strengths.” I called Ted my boss for 16 incredible years and was inspired by him daily.  Ted said you don’t have to be a world leader or a billionaire to make a difference—and we made that a rallying cry for people all over the world to work together for that goal."

Global problem solver and communicator, Kathy led the UN Foundation — Ted's audacious bet to advance human dignity and protect the planet. Prior to that she was President of the AOL Time Warner Foundation where she guided AOL Time Warner’s philanthropic activities. 

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RICK DAVIS

"Over 40 years ago Ted’s vision for 'news when you want it' revolutionized the way viewers and ultimately readers became better informed about their world. I was more than fortunate to be part of that right from the beginning. In much the same way, Ted had the vision decades ago that the planet was threatened — and so he used his influence and his money to raise the call — and with his good works, helped protect the world and the environment. That’s why I am so proud to contribute and endorse Frank Sesno’s vision to marry two of Ted’s passions, news and the environment. This innovative project at GW will involve and inform students and the public for years to come about our need to protect the planet. And it is needed now more than ever."

A CNN original, who has worked at the network since the first broadcast in June 1980, Rick is Executive Vice President of Standards and Practices, the group that assures the professionalism and high ethical standards of everything CNN does. He's seen the network span the globe — and become one of the most recognized brands in the world.

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GAIL EVANS

Previously the Executive Vice President of the CNN Newsgroup, Gail was known for being the highest ranking female at CNN. She is currently an author, lecturer and business executive.

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JOAN GILLMAN

"The Ted Turner Professor of Environmental Media is a tribute to Ted's entrepreneurial advancements in journalism worldwide. Ted had a vision for how TV journalism would shape the understanding of global and national issues at a scale unknown before his time. GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs, will not only teach his legacy, it will inspire the next generation of journalists to build on it to have impact on the issues they choose to cover.”

Joan currently serves as a Corporate Director of public and private companies. She held various roles at Time Warner Cable/Time Warner participating in the Company's transformation and monetization of digital cable, video on demand and addressable advertising. After serving as COO of Timer Warner Cable Media and EVP of Time Warner Cable for 10 years, she left Time Warner Cable in 2016. Joan began her career in politics working in the U.S. Senate. She earned her Masters at GW and is a member of the SMPA National Council.

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DR. SANJAY AND
REBECCA GUPTA

"Before I went to visit Ted on his ranch in Montana, I wasn’t sure how bison could help save the planet. But Ted’s been turning doubters into believers his whole life -- and this was no different. I am honored to support the Ted Turner Endowed Fund because I believe in Ted and his determination to save the planet we all share."

Multiple Emmy® Award-winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, Sanjay is a practicing neurosurgeon at Emory Hospitals, plays an integral role in CNN's reporting on health & medical news. Rebecca, a lawyer and venture capitalist, is an active member of the Atlanta community. She sits on the Southeast Region Board for UNICEF, University of Michigan Medical Advisory Board, and on the board for Friends of English Avenue. The couple have three young girls and enjoy sharing with them the love of travel & the understanding of global responsibility.

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TOM JOHNSON

"Never has there been another person on this planet quite like Ted Turner. Never again are we likely to see anybody else quite like him. The range of Ted's accomplishments are so vast and varied. Environmentalist. Champion of World Peace. Owner of Major League sports franchises, including the World Champions Atlanta Braves. Owner of more land except for one other billionaire. Donor of $1 billion to strengthen the United Nations. But, what I love the most, is the man who brought truthful news to virtually every nation in the world, especially to people who have lived under totalitarian regimes where free expression often was prohibited. Founder of the world's first 24-hour all-news channel, Ted Turner will go down in the history books alongside the giants of the 20th and 21st centuries. This program at George Washington University will enable us to advance the cause of a free press while honoring the finest media pioneer of them all."

President of CNN for more than a decade, Tom led CNN's ground-breaking coverage of the Gulf War and changed the way audiences consume news. Early in his career, Tom served as deputy press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson. He was also the publisher of the Dallas Times-Herald and The Los Angeles Times.

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DAVID KENNY

"Climate change is one of the most important news stories of the century and we need young journalism students to understand and help educate the world on what's at stake. Ted Turner, devoted environmentalist and media pioneer, paved the way for all of us and we at Nielsen are delighted to honor his great legacy by supporting this endowed professorship."

David Kenny joined Nielsen as Chief Executive Officer in 2018. He has spent his career in data science and artificial intelligence, focused on the marketing and media industries. David previously served as Senior Vice President of Cognitive Solutions at IBM where he oversaw IBM’s artificial intelligence initiatives, using machine learning to support enterprise customers across a large number of verticals. Prior to that, he was Chairman and Chief Executive of The Weather Company. Currently, David serves on the Board of Directors for Best Buy and Teach for America. He is also on the advisory board of ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing.

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DAVID & NIKI LEVY

"Ted was into cable before cable was cool. Many people throw around the word visionary in defining people, but honestly there are very few “TRUE VISIONARIES“... Ted was one of them.. period!”

After joining Turner Broadcasting at the age of 24, David spent the next 32 years building Turner assets ultimately culminating in six years as CEO. David orchestrated a landmark NCAA March Madness deal with CBS for multi-media rights, including exclusive rights four the final four and championship games for Turner every other year.

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WONYA LUCAS

"Ted Turner is known as a visionary and a maverick. His unapologetic and fiercely brave style reaped success in journalism, entertainment, business, and sports. Without formal brand training but incredible instinct, he also created iconic, valuable media brands such as CNN, Cartoon Network, and TBS. He was a master in brand repositioning as he emphasized the unique attributes and elevation of two key brands: TBS (the Superstation) and the Atlanta Braves (America's Team). In the boardroom, his actions reflected a commitment to D&I before it was a known phrase. He understood that great minds and character transcended race. Ted dared to tap two African Americans to serve on his corporate board: Hank Aaron and Rubye Lucas. He was responsible for elevating the first African American General Manager in baseball, Bill Lucas.”

Daughter of Bill and Rubye Lucas and niece of Hank Aaron, Wonya had a front row view of Ted's genius. As president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, a subsidiary company of Hallmark Cards, she is accelerating growth of the iconic television brand whose flagship channel is among the top 15 cable networks. She's led multiple news and entertainment companies including Discovery, TNT, NPR, and the Weather Channel.

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TRYG MYHREN

"Ted, what a ride you have had so far. You took such courageous risks with WTBS, the Braves, Death Star, Ed Taylor and SSS, CNN, the Goodwill Games and so many other genius break throughs, back “when cable wasn’t cool." I have treasured our time together over the years and have always respected your integrity in our dealings and our friendship.  Serving on your Board, though not without wrinkles, was a joy. Vicki and I both wish you every good fortune going forward."

President of Providence Journal Company, Chair/CEO of American Television & Communications Corporation and Chairman of NCTA, Tryg led the industry’s successful effort to pass the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, which freed the industry from stifling regulation. Tryg served on the board of Turner Broadcasting. He is a member of the Cable Hall of Fame and the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.

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DICK PARSONS

"In my pantheon of business people, Ted holds a unique position. There are only two people I've met in business who just refused to fail. That was the bedrock of their success. They just kept coming. Both transformed their industries. Ted was one. Estee Lauder was the other. Ted created an industry. He was a transformative figure on the American landscape. He succeeded through force of will. And he was a heck of a guy."

Former CEO of AOL Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) and later chairman of Citigroup, Dick has worked at the intersection of business, politics, sports and humanitarian causes his entire career. Among his many accomplishments, he served as the chair of the Rockefeller Foundation, Interim CEO of the LA Clippers and in the Ford White House.

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THEODORE ROOSEVELT IV

"Ted Turner is America’s greatest conservationist. His vision, imagination and determination has helped protect the planet for future generations.”

Investment banker and managing director at Barclay’s Capital Corporation, chairman of the firm’s Clean Tech initiative, and on the board of several organizations committed to the environment and climate action, Ted Roosevelt is a committed conservationist. It is a passion he’s long shared with his good friend, Ted Turner.

  

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JIM SAMPLES

"During my years at Turner Broadcasting, I witnessed the impact of Ted's vision directly and personally. While I was managing the company’s Argentina office, Ted's support of the launch of CNN en Español was crucial to its success. CNN brought reliable and objective news to millions of viewers across the region in Spanish — so important to emerging economies and young democracies throughout the region. And later, while at Cartoon Network, Ted never let me forget how important it was to drive home environmental awareness while entertaining kids. He was ahead of his time with practically everything he touched! He is among the few whose brilliant business acumen is matched by his staunch commitment to the health of our planet and the wellbeing of people everywhere.”

During nearly 14 years with Turner Broadcasting, Jim served in a range of leadership capacities spanning programming, digital media, marketing, and affiliate sales. He served as EVP & General Manager of Cartoon Network Worldwide.  

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SUNLEN SERFATY

"For years, Ted Turner’s vision, leadership and commitment to storytelling has been an inspiration to me as a journalist. Now, more than ever, we need the next generation of young leaders to continue and build on his legacy.”

Emmy award-winning journalist and GW alumna, Sunlen is a Washington correspondent for CNN covering breaking news and national politics. She got her start in journalism at The Washington Post and covered the Obama campaign in 2008 for ABC.

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LAURA TURNER SEYDEL

"My father championed ideas that made a difference in the world. We are proud of the impact he’s had on so many lives. As we look to the future, I can think of no more urgent or important way to embrace his living legacy than by advocating for our natural world through the communication and compelling storytelling around ideas that can improve our well-being for generations to come.”

Daughter of Ted Turner, chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, and committed environmentalist, Laura is eloquent in her advocacy of sustainable living. She embraces her father’s passion for the outdoors and his concern about climate change.

 

Read Laura's blog post about her dad. 

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JUNE TRAVIS

"Ted set a high bar as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, sportsman, and environmentalist. His vision and tenacity continues to produce results to this day.”

A 30-year veteran of the cable industry, June served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), the cable television industry's principal trade association. Today, she devotes the majority of her time to philanthropic causes. 

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SEN. TIMOTHY WIRTH

"Ted Turner has been part of Wren’s and my lives since before I can remember, almost before cable was cable and certainly before I was in Congress. His leadership in the industry was reflected in twenty years of legislative battles, and I was privileged to be a supportive partner in this enterprise. When he asked me to set up his U.N. Foundation, I jumped at the chance and we have been partners there for more than twenty years. As ever, he is a persistent idealist and role model for communications, philanthropy, and conservation, and the Turner Chair will continue these marvelous commitments."

 

Serving under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, Sen. Wirth has spent more than 50 years in public service. He served in the U.S. House and Senate from 1974-1992. Other roles include Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education during the Nixon Administration and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration. From 1998 to 2013, he served as the president of the United Nations Foundation, and currently sits on the Foundation's board.

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JEFF ZUCKER

"For 40 years, CNN has been a vanguard in reporting the news, bringing our audience to the frontlines of history. As a result, we have a world that is better informed and more connected than ever. That is in no small part due to Ted Turner's vision. It is one that I look forward to strengthening as we shepherd CNN through its fifth decade and beyond."

As former Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, Jeff led the most used digital outlet in the world. President of CNN Worldwide since 2013, co-founder of Hulu, and five time Emmy Winner, Jeff spent more than two decades at NBC Universal, where he rose through the ranks to become the company's president and CEO.