Dr. Dorothy M. Bland and Dr. Virgil L. Smith Endowed Scholarship

Scholarship for journalism students with an interest in student media and ethnic minority journalism.

Description, Requirements, and Other Information: 

Dr. Dorothy M. Bland was the first Black woman to serve as dean of UNT's Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. During her tenure as the journalism dean 2013-2018, student enrollment, faculty and staff grew substantially. In 2018, students voted her the "Best Dean" at UNT in a North Texas Daily contest. In 2019, she was honored as one of the top 35 women in higher education in the nation by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. Under her leadership, the Mayborn launched a master's degree in digital communication analytics plus earned the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Equity and Diversity Award. Prior to joining UNT, she served as a journalism division director and professor at Florida A&M University. She worked 25 years in the news industry, including USA Today. She is an award-winning journalist and earned three Gannett President's Rings for outstanding performance as a publisher at the Fort Collins Coloradoan. She is featured in The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press. Her research interests include diversity, digital news, media management/leadership, social media, and marketing. She taught a variety of classes ranging from Intro to Media Writing to International Media Communication at UNT. She earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University, M.B.A. from George Washington University, and B.S. in journalism from Arkansas State University.

Dr. Virgil L. Smith was an award-winning and trailblazing media industry executive and member of the UNT Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism Board of Advisors from 2014 to 2021. Smith has a passion for education and supporting students with college scholarship endowments at four universities. Smith was the first Black publisher in North Carolina for the Citizen-Times in Asheville. He worked as corporate executive with McClatchy and Gannett companies for 44 years before retiring in 2015. He then launched his own firm, the Smith Edwards Group focused on talent development, leadership, and diversity in broadcasting, print and digital operations. He has earned many awards including the Ida B. Wells Award for leadership diversity, Lifetime Achievement Award in Asheville, Martin Luther King Community Award and a Gannett President's Ring for outstanding performance as a newspaper publisher. He has served as a consultant with a variety of media organizations including the Asian American Journalists Association, Time USA and Fox News. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of San Francisco, and an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

To be eligible for consideration, an applicant for the Scholarship must meet the following criteria:

  • Meet the minimum entrance and continuing academic performance standards of the University (or its successor) in effect at the time of any award;
  • Maintain full-time enrollment as established by the University, unless the student is nearing completion of their degree program and does not need full-time enrollment;
  • Enroll as a full-time student in journalism at the University; in the event no applicant meets this criterion, then students enrolling full-time in the Mayborn School of Journalism (or its successor) at the University will be eligible for consideration;
  • Hold a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent);
  • Be a first-generation student, defined as an individual whose parents/guardians did not complete a 4-year college degree, or if a student resided with and received support from only one parent/guardian and this parent/guardian did not complete a 4-year college degree; and
  • Express an interest in student media and ethnic minority journalism organizations including, but not limited to: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) or Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).