AMHERST – Sean Dandley remembers Howard Ziff as larger than life when Ziff was the chairman of the journalism department at the University of Massachusetts and Dandley a student.
Dandley, who graduated in 1985 with a degree in journalism, said that when he donated money to UMass and earned the naming rights for a classroom, he could think of no one more apt that Ziff.
On Sept. 26 the journalism department will dedicate the “Hub” space in the Integrative Learning Center as the Howard M. Ziff Gallery. Ziff died at 81 in 2012.
Born in Holyoke, Ziff worked for the City News Bureau in Chicago then became a city editor at the Chicago Daily News.
He moved to Amherst in 1971 to create the journalism program at UMass and served on its faculty until he retired in 1998.
He was chairman for about 13 years.
The celebration features tours of the new facility, the dedication at which Dandley among others will speak, a dinner and a talk by Pulitzer prize winning Boston Globe columnist and UMass alum Kevin Cullen.
Cullen is the co-author with Shelley Murphy of “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice.”
Dandley, who is CEO/President of DSCI Corp. in Waltham, remembers that Ziff “was a larger than life human being who did not suffer fools.”
Dandley learned more than journalism. He saw how he assembled his journalism team. “It was a great example,” he said of the “way he worked with faculty” and students.
“He was a great role model for me.”
Dandley, who pursued business and formed several start-ups, said from Ziff he learned, “You can have fun. You could bring together a really good group of people” and get the work done.
Dandley and his wife Jayne, also a UMass graduate in nursing, donated $50,000 to the department to help purchase equipment and whatever else is needed.
“We love UMass,” he said. The couple has donated more than $100,000. Both their children Erinn and Michael graduated from UMass, she in 2012, and he in 2013.
UMass is hoping the dedication will draw journalism alums and others. “Since the new building, we’ve been looking for opportunities to reconnect with our alums to celebrate our past,” said department chairwoman Kathy Roberts Forde.
It has a broadcast studio among the technology. At the same the department is “holding pretty closely to the values of quality journalism that Howard represents.”
Those who would like to attend are asked to register by Sept. 1.