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Knippenberg Scholarship Fundraiser a Can't-Miss Event


Party will raise money for journalism scholarship in honor of late UC professor and Enquirer columnist Jim Knippenberg. Special guests for the evening will include former WLWT broadcasters Pat Barry, Norma Rashid and Jerry Springer.

Date: 4/5/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-8577

UC ingot   Psst! There’s a party coming up that you don’t want to miss. It’s held in honor of a legendary local scribe who defined “social media” before there was such a thing.

The Jim Knippenberg Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship celebration and fundraiser is set for April 18 at The Celestial’s Incline Lounge in Mount Adams.

The scholarship fund was founded in 2010 by members of the University of Cincinnati’s journalism program, the Society of Professional Journalists and other friends and colleagues of the late Knippenberg to honor his contributions to the Cincinnati community. When fully endowed, the scholarship will support one journalism student in the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences each year with a $2,500 scholarship. So far, the Knippenberg Scholarship Committee has raised roughly half of the $50,000 needed for the scholarship to become fully endowed, and it hopes to complete the endowment this year.

Knippenberg passed away in November 2009 at age 63. He was a fixture at UC, earning a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1968, a master’s in education in 1971 and teaching in the journalism program for more than a decade. The Elder High School grad was a longtime reporter, columnist and editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer where he was perhaps best known for his Psst! gossip column. Part of what so endeared Knippenberg to his readers was his knack for celebrating, not skewering, the famous folks he’d encounter while covering Cincinnati’s salient social gatherings.

And “Knip,” as he was known among friends, was well-regarded by students and other faculty during his time as a professor at UC. Jon Hughes, director of UC’s journalism program, hired Knippenberg in 1995 to teach a “Columns and Reviews” course. He says he admired Knippenberg’s writing, reporting and endless entertainment value.

“I knew he would be a wonderful instructor in the classroom,” Hughes says. “The students packed into his courses. … Every time I’d see him in the hallways it made me smile. I miss him dearly and so do the students.”

Mary Armor, a longtime friend of Knippenberg and fellow socialite, remembers the original scholarship fundraiser event was intended to be a poignant retrospective on Kippenberg’s personal and professional accomplishments. But she had a better idea.

“They wanted to do a more formal event where people ask questions and talk about Jim,” Armor says. “I told them, ‘Sorry, I don’t do that.’ Knip and I always did parties.”

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. with a private reunion with special guests Pat Barry, Norma Rashid and Jerry Springer – WLWT’s popular 1980s-era broadcast triumvirate. Then at 6 p.m., the general reception begins with Barry, Rashid and Springer. Also joining the party will be TV personality and singer Rob Reider and singer/songwriter Austin Spiegel.

Tickets cost $150 a person for the private reunion and $65 for the general reception. Registration is required by April 12. An online auction is now open and runs through April 30. Items up for bidding include vacation getaways, shopping trips, event tickets, sports memorabilia and more.

For more information, to register and bid on auction items, go to http://www.knipscholarship.org/.

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