Quarterly Donor Spotlight- Jack Houvouras
Reputations are important. For an individual or organization, one’s reputation can enhance or hinder opportunities, performance and growth. At Marshall, many colleges and departments have reputations of being highly respected, award winning and/or accredited. For students seeking to capitalize on building a skill set for their future careers, the college’s accolades often boost their reputation and persuade students that Marshall University is best suited to prepare them for success.
Jack Houvouras chose to attend Marshall University for these reasons.
“I knew the journalism program had won numerous awards competing against other top colleges and universities across the nation. In addition, I wanted to study under such highly respected professors as Dr. Ralph Turner, Dr. George Arnold and Bos Johnson,” said Jack.
During his time as a student, Jack became involved with the student paper, The Parthenon, where he served as the editor. From that responsibility, he learned lessons that have served him well in his career.
“I learned how to manage and motivate people, how to collaborate with talented individuals and how important ethics are in journalism and life. But most of all, I learned how much I appreciate the freedom that comes with being in control of the creative process,” Jack explained.
Upon graduating from the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1988, Jack founded HQ Publishing Company and released the company’s first magazine- the Huntington Quarterly– just one year post graduation. Today, his company oversees the publication of six magazines spanning topics from education to health care and law.
Deeply rooted in the Huntington community, Jack has served as the summer games director of the West Virginia Special Olympics, president of Marshall University’s School of Journalism Alumni Association and president of the board of Little Victories Animal Rescue. He is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia and a past recipient of the West Virginia Small Business Administration’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and was named a “Business Innovator of the Year” by the Herald- Dispatch.
Because of his appreciation for all Marshall taught him and his desire to help students thrive in today’s world of journalism, Jack recently established the John H. Houvouras Scholarship. This renewable scholarship was designed to help full-time undergraduate students attend Marshall University’s highly reputable W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications. It is Jack’s hope that the school will continue to transform lives and produce truth-seeking journalists.
“For me, there has never been a better time to start a journalism scholarship. Today, the press is under attack in America. Journalists are being called the ‘enemy of the people’ and their reporting is being labeled as ‘fake news.’ This concerns me greatly,” explained Jack. “The people I studied with at Marshall were honorable, hard-working individuals who constantly searched for the truth. I believe that a career in journalism is a very noble calling. Marshall has a proud tradition of producing some of the best journalists in the nation. If I can play a role in continuing that tradition, then I want to do my part. Nothing is more important to a true democracy than the First Amendment. A free press is the final watchdog in our wonderful system of checks and balances, and it must be protected.”
While Jack’s scholarship is currently helping aspiring journalists study a major that fulfills them, he has ensured it will continue to do so through an irrevocable planned gift to Marshall University. His goal is to make the biggest impact possible with this scholarship, and to do so, he knew he would have to plan for it through his legacy.
“I knew that in addition to my initial pledge, the money I would leave Marshall in my will would be far more substantial than what I can give today,” he said.
Encouraging students to understand the importance of making a difference, Jack also advises them to take risks when they are young.
“Find something you are passionate about and then figure out a way to make a career out of it,” he said, with great confidence that Marshall will continue to grow and assist students with their dreams.
“I hope that Marshall continues to evolve into a nationally respected institution of higher learning. I hope we continue to market and educate the general public about the numerous positive aspects of Marshall, Huntington and West Virginia. Finally, I would like to see a day when the teachers at Marshall are some of the highest paid in the nation,” Jack explained. “That is how you recruit the finest professors and that is how a university grows in stature and reputation. But all of that requires money, so each of us needs to do our part by giving back.”
For information regarding the John H. Houvouras Scholarship for Journalism, please contact the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications.