Former Presidential Adviser, Head of MPAA Jack Valenti Had Longstanding Ties with University
HOUSTON, April 25, 2008 – The School of Communication at the University of Houston will be named to honor the late Jack Valenti, adviser to President Lyndon Johnson and head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for nearly four decades. Valenti, who died last year at the age of 85, was born and raised in Houston and was a graduate of the University of Houston (1946).
Plans to change the name to the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication were announced today at the school’s annual scholarship banquet.
“This is an important step to acknowledge Valenti’s longstanding association with the University of Houston and the city of Houston,” said Welcome W. Wilson Sr., chairman of the UH System Board of Regents. Wilson was both a longtime friend and former business partner of Valenti’s. “Jack was the greatest communicator that I have ever known,” Wilson said.
“Jack always seemed to know what to say and the best way to say it,” Wilson said. “What, then, could be a better description of communications?”
Valenti was the author of five books, numerous essays and articles in premier newspapers and magazines, and nearly a decade’s worth of Saturday columns for the Houston Post. Valenti earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1948 and co-founded the highly successful public relations and advertising executive firm Weekley & Valenti in 1952.
Members of Valenti’s family attended the event, including his widow, Mary Margaret, his son John, his daughter Alexandra and his sister Lorraine.
Valenti’s desk, professional library and copies of all his speeches are being donated to the school.
“As we improve the school’s infrastructure and expand its scholarship opportunities, I am confident that it will achieve the level of excellence and national recognition with which the Valenti name is synonymous,” said Beth Olson, director of the School of Communication.
“Renaming the school in honor of Jack Valenti will serve as an inspiration to generations of students as they follow their own path to success,” said John Antel, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
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