Bickel Fund again selects FSU Communication as a beneficiary

The Florida State University School of Communication has once again been selected as a beneficiary of the Karl A. Bickel and Madira Bickel Journalistic Scholarship program. The scholarship program, funded by the Bickel Charitable Trust and managed by Wachovia Bank/Wells Fargo, is designated for undergraduate or graduate students with demonstrated financial need for have an interest in journalism, public affairs, documentary, political communication or writing.

“The Bickel Scholarship has been central in allowing us to support outstanding students in both the core areas of our academic programs, such as writing for electronic media, media ethics, mass media law and legal issues in new media,” Dr. Lawrence C. Dennis, dean of the College of Communication & Information, said. “In addition, we have strong relationships with media organizations both on campus and in the community, providing internship opportunities that prepare our students for careers in media.”

Over the past three years, the school has received an estimated $150,000 from the fund, enabling it to:

  • Provide need-based scholarship and fellowship assistance to the School’s most talented and outstanding students;
  • Expand the placement of students in local, out-of-market, and national internships in order to prepare them for professional careers in print and broadcast journalism.
  • Expand our partnerships with WFSU-TV, the University’s two NPR stations, Florida Public Radio, and various governmental media services located in our state capital.
  • Support students in their independent projects and in working with faculty members on documentary projects.

Competition was keen among universities for Bickel funds, with the committee that manages the fund ultimately selecting the University of Florida and Stanford University along with Florida State.

“The Bickel scholarships have provided support for student news internships, research on news media, and for student work on documentaries,” said Dr. Steve McDowell, director of the School of Communication.  “It has really enriched student experiences and made a difference.”

Depending on market conditions, the fund is expected to award well over $100,000 to the School of Communication over the next three years.

Karl Bickel was president of what was then called United Press in the 1920s and 1930s, when many communities had both morning and afternoon daily newspapers and the wire service listed most of the afternoon newspapers among its clients. Since its merger with Heart’s International News Service in 1958, it has been known as United Press International.

Madira Bickel, his wife, turned a hobby designing jewelry into a lucrative business. They retired to Sarasota in 1935, where he returned to writing and she became involved in civic affairs, particularly British War Relief during World War II and community beautification through gardening. Madira Bickel died in 1964; Karl Bickel died in 1973.