Triple Tar Heel J. Walker Smith '77, '81 (MA), '86 (PhD) assumes presidency of MJ Foundation Board
The School of Media and Journalism Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., will convene Thursday, April 6, under the new leadership of UNC alumnus J. Walker Smith '77, '81 (M.A.), '86 (Ph.D.).
Smith became the MJ Foundation Board president effective Jan. 1, 2017. His fellow board officers include Elizabeth Park Fowler, vice president; Ford Worthy, treasurer; and MJ-school Dean Susan King, secretary.
Currently, he serves as executive chairman of Kantar Futures, a global foresights and futures research consultancy. Walker has been described by Fortune magazine as “one of America’s leading analysts on consumer trends,” and he consults with clients globally about trends, futures, marketing and business strategy.
Smith completed his undergraduate degree at UNC in 1977; his master's in speech communication and rhetoric at UNC in 1981; and his doctorate in mass communication at the MJ-school in 1986. He serves on both the MJ Foundation Board and the MJ-school's Board of Advisers.
He succeeds former Foundation Board President Jordy Whichard, a 1979 graduate of UNC. Whichard was publisher of The Daily Reflector in Greenville, North Carolina, for more than two decades before retiring in 2009. He was also president of a group of 12 affiliated newspapers and related businesses in eastern North Carolina.
“Walker Smith brings a deep understanding and love of our school into this position,” said Susan King, dean of the school. “His insight to the industries we serve will help guide us along the path of leadership and innovation as a school. He builds on the work of Jordy Whichard, who brought great energy and new strategies to our board and laid the groundwork for the school to reach our ambitious goals.”
The MJ Foundation Board serves as the guardian and builder of private resources to support teaching, research and service. Board members provide fiduciary oversight of the Foundation’s assets and steer the school toward a sustainable future with adequate resources by adopting sound, ethical and legal governance and financial management policies.
The MJ-school has three volunteer-driven boards — the MJ Foundation Board, the Board of Advisers and the Media and Journalism Alumni Association Board — that assist in furthering the mission of the school. They share a common goal to raise funds and resources to support the school; raise awareness of the school’s mission, activities and achievements; provide advocacy for the school; and advise the school’s leadership.