Murrow College to name building for alumnus Keith Jackson

Keith Jackson mugPULLMAN, Wash. – The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication will name its broadcast building in honor of journalist and sports broadcasting icon Keith Jackson, a 1954 WSU graduate.

The Facilities Naming Committee at Washington State University Pullman has approved the initiative subject to final approval by the WSU Board of Regents in September.

“Beyond Murrow himself, I can think of no alumnus who better deserves to have a building in our complex bear his name,” Murrow Founding Dean Lawrence Pintak wrote in making the request on behalf of the college’s faculty.

Jackson enjoyed a celebrated broadcast career with ABC Sports spanning more than 40 years (1966–2006). During his tenure with the network he was the first play-by-play announcer on Monday Night Football and a fixture on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

He coined the term “The Big House” for Michigan’s stadium and christened the Rose Bowl “the granddaddy of them all.” His assignments included coverage of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics Games and, with Walter Cronkite, reporting from the 1964 Republican National Convention.

Jackson at radio station KUGR, circa 1954.
Jackson at radio station KUGR, circa 1954.

Jackson’s distinctive delivery and “down to earth” manner have been compared to that of Edward R. Murrow. Both Jackson and Murrow are graduates of the WSU Department of Speech, a pre-cursor to the Murrow College.

A strong supporter of WSU, Jackson has long helped raise the profile of the Murrow College. Since graduation, he has given more than $1 million to the university to support both the college and WSU Athletics. He was instrumental in building support to construct the WSU Lewis Alumni Centre.

The idea of naming a building in his honor gained unanimous support of Murrow faculty, many of whom offered letters of recommendation in making the case for the name change.

A dedication ceremony for Keith M. Jackson Hall has been set for Sept. 12 to coincide with Jackson’s visit on campus for his “diamond” (60th) alumni class reunion.

The naming will include a re-designation of the primary buildings in the Murrow Complex to include the original structure named the “Edward R. Murrow Hall,” the newly named “Keith Jackson Hall” and the renamed “Kathi Goertzen Hall” (previously called the Goertzen Communications Annex).

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Darin Watkins, Murrow College communications, 509-335-4456