Stony Brook University Plans Marie Colvin Center

Stony Brook University plans to open a center for international journalism in memory of Marie Colvin, the acclaimed war reporter who was killed Feb. 22 in Syria.

The Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting will pay tribute to the Long Island native by establishing a special curriculum intended to “nurture and grow the next generation of overseas reporters,” said Howard Schneider, dean of Stony Brook’s School of Journalism.

The center would run a student travel fellowship, a public lecture series and a journalist-in-residence program.

“The fact that she was from Long Island, the fact that she was one of the most courageous reporters there was and the fact that she’s a role model for young women, are all reasons why we’re doing this,” Schneider said.

Colvin grew up in East Norwich and attended Oyster Bay High School. She was on assignment in Syria for The Sunday Times of London when she was killed in a rocket attack in the city of Homs. She was 56.

“Marie was larger than life. She was really tenacious, and to see a strong woman like that was really inspiring for me,” said Ilana Ozernoy, a former international correspondent who met Colvin a few years ago while both were on assignment in Baghdad.

Ozernoy, now an assistant journalism professor at Stony Brook, is leading the effort to start the international reporting center.

The journalism school aims to raise $1 million to be eligible for a matching grant from a Stony Brook fund set up by billionaires James and Marilyn Simons, he said.

The Simons donated $150 million to the university in December 2011, the largest gift ever to a New York State university.

The Marie Colvin Fund at LICF donated an undisclosed amount to help start the Colvin center at Stony Brook, said Marie Colvin’s sister, Cathleen.

“Marie was always a generous colleague and mentor to younger journalists, and I know she would be extremely proud of the center,” said Cathleen Colvin, an attorney who lives in Oyster Bay.

The journalism school launched its fundraising campaign at the Overseas Press Club Annual Awards dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan on April 25. Organizers will hold another donor event June 21 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

By Candice Ferrette
May 23, 2012