Columbia Journalism School


J-School mourns passing of Helen Gurley Brown

August 13, 2012

The Columbia Journalism School community was saddened today to learn of the passing of Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor and author who recently became one of the most generous benefactors in the school’s century-long history.

Brown, perhaps best known for her extraordinary tenure as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and for authoring the groundbreaking 1962 bestseller “Sex and the Single Girl,” recently gave $30 million to Columbia Journalism School and Stanford’s Engineering School to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

Dedicated to the memory of her husband David, a noted film producer and graduate of the Journalism School, the Brown Institute is designed to encourage and support new journalistic endeavors with the potential to inform and entertain in transformative ways—just as Helen Gurley Brown did in her remarkable career.

“David and I have long supported and encouraged bright young people to follow their passions and to create original content. Great content needs useable technology. Sharing a language is where the magic happens. It’s time for two great American institutions on the East and West Coasts to build a bridge,” Brown said in January, at the announcement of the institute.

Dean Nicholas Lemann said, “Helen Gurley Brown was a treasured friend of Columbia Journalism School. Her late husband David was an alumnus and a longtime, loyal member of the school’s Board of Visitors. The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation is the final achievement of her remarkable life. We are grieving, but we console ourselves with the knowledge that Helen’s legacy will live on forever here, through the institute.”

Nicholas Lemann remembers Helen Gurley Brown (CJR)

Hdbrown_news_013012David and Helen Gurley Brown in 1984. Photo/Hearst Corp.

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