Omnicom Creates Scholarship In Reg Murphy's Name

Does the name J. Reginald Murphy mean anything to you? 

He made national headlines fifty years ago when he was the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  

I assume he wrote more than a few as well. But he made the headlines in February of that year when he was kidnapped, just a couple of weeks after the kidnapping of Patty Hearst.  



The timing of Murphy’s kidnapping was coincidental and had nothing to do with the Hearst abduction. Murphy’s kidnapper was a lone wackadoodle who was caught within hours of releasing Murphy after holding him in captivity for about three days. The Journal-Constitution paid $700,000 to get Murphy released. The money was also recovered. 

I’m writing about this because it turns out that Reg Murphy and Omnicom CEO John Wren are good friends. Murphy served as an independent director on Omnicom’s board from 1996 to 2018.  

 As a result of that friendship Omnicom is funding a new scholarship for journalism majors at Murphy’s alma mater Mercer University. Titled the Omnicom Reg Murphy Scholarship in Journalism, the scholarship will be awarded to up to 10 students annually for the next 10 years.  

Murphy had a storied career in journalism and publishing. In addition to his role as editor of the AJC, he was president and CEO of the National Geographic Society.  Murphy also served as the CEO of the Baltimore Sun and held positions as a publisher and editor at the San Francisco Examiner. 

And he served five terms on Mercer University's Board of Trustees. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1971 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 1975. 

Last year Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism was named the Reg Murphy Center for Collaborative Journalism in recognition of Murphy's contributions to the profession and his alma mater.  

In addition to the scholarships, Omnicom will supply a limited number of student internship opportunities for journalism majors at various Omnicom offices in Atlanta and the New York region. 

"This scholarship acknowledges Reg's impact on journalism as well as encourages students who are eager to make their own mark," said Wren. " We look forward to creating a bridge between Mercer's journalism students and the professional opportunities available at Omnicom." 

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