CCFA to raise $35,000 in honor of alum’s passing

With the passing of a renowned multimedia specialist for the Muskegon Chronicle, and graduate of Central Michigan University, the Ken Stevens endowment fund has been created to honor the achievements of the photojournalist.

Mark Baczewski, director of development of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, said many alums contacted him and the school on what they could do to contribute to the remembrance of Stevens.

“It’s a fund designed to keep the memory of Ken alive at CMU,” Baczewski said. “He did a lot for the students and was a really big advocate for taking on student interns.”

According to the endowment page on Facebook, the endowment will fund a scholarship to provide financial assistance to students pursuing media-related internships. Donations can be made online or by contacting CCFA directly.

The endowment page was set up through the office of alumni relations to increase crowd funding. The goal is to reach $35,000,000. So far, there have been 15 donors and $1,760 raised.

While serving as a way to remember Stevens, the endowment is to aide those who are interested in photojournalism.

“It’s geared for photojournalism students but also anyone that works for the paper or magazine,” Baczewski said. “Really just anyone interested in photojournalism, they don’t have to be a photojournalist or photography major.”

Baczewski said MLive will be giving a gift in Steven's name, along with where his wife works, Chase Bank. Other businesses and corporations have expressed interest in contributing to the fund or giving a gift.

Over the years, Stevens made sure to return to his alma mater and worked very closely with photojournalism students and interns. Stevens also coordinated the Chronicle’s highly respected internship program.

“The very nature of this endowment — helping photojournalists early in their careers — is something Ken took seriously and enjoyed and he was good at it,” said Peg West, editor of the Muskegon Chronicle. “There are many photojournalists working professionally who say the mentoring they received from Ken was a key part of their development. I can't think of a better way to keep his memory alive.”

West said Stevens was a great professional but an even better colleague.

"His multimedia work was wonderful, of course, but those who had the privilege to work with him understood why it was so good,” West said. “He had a huge heart. His ethical standards were of the highest degree. His enthusiasm and passion never waned, even after decades in this business. No assignment was ho-hum."

She emphasized Steven's positive demeanor, even in the face of tragedy throughout his career.  

"If there was a car crash — can you imagine how many he shot during his career? -- he was the first one out the door. No one worked harder. And no one had a quicker smile or a kinder word for you than Ken."

West said Stevens' visual legacy will always be seen in his work, but the biggest legacy he will leave will be through the people he interacted with.

“He leaves it (his legacy) through the interns he nurtured and mentored who went on to great success in their careers,” she said. “He leaves it through his colleagues — especially those in photojournalism — who are better because they worked with him, and continue to be inspired by him."

According to Jim Wojcik, a professor in the journalism department, Stevens was tremendous person.

“They don’t make them like him anymore. I can’t think of anyone nicer than he was,” Wojcik said. “From the time he entered in as a freshman, he was just dearly dedicated to his work.”


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