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Violence Education Effort
Gets McGovern Funding

The brutal truth is that violence permeates our society. When people are surveyed about their concerns, fear of violence ranks near the top.

A Houston foundation, a team of talented film makers, and Sam Houston State University are addressing the problem in an educational program--"The Brutal Truth"--using video documentaries, an internet site and possibly future research.

Dr. John P. McGovern, president of the John P. McGovern Foundation of Houston, has contributed $200,000 to the project, which will be directed by Maryjo Cochran, coordinator of the radio/television program at Sam Houston State.

Sam Houston State students will participate in all phases of the project and have already begun transcribing five interviews to be used in a pilot documentary scheduled for completion in December. The internet site, is under construction.

"Collaborating and utilizing the expertise of two other organizations, Sam Houston State University will develop a tool for use in the healthcare community, schools, detention facilities, abuse centers, as well as national distribution in the public media," said Cochran.

Rick Christie, who graduated from Sam Houston State in 1984 and formed the Houston film company Studio W Productions and who won an Emmy Award for editing in 1998, said the first documentary will be an overview of the problem.

Additional segments will examine domestic violence, the effect of drugs and alcohol on violence, sports and violence, school violence, workplace violence and other elements of the overall violence picture.

Working with Cochran and Christie will be Emmy Award-winning producer Margaret O'Brien Molina, academician, psychotherapist and director of popular television shows and documentaries Dr. Warren Chaney, and a nationally syndicated physician broadcaster and president of Health Media Network, Dr. Keith Robinson.

The project partners have committed $350,000 of in-kind and monetary donations to the project. An additional $2 million is being sought for the entire 13-part series to be produced, which could ultimately provide more than $65,000 in scholarships for the SHSU radio/television program.

"If the entire series is funded, we would expect to involve researchers in the SHSU College of Criminal Justice," said Cochran. "With Sam Houston State's leadership in criminology education, we couldn't find a better place for research."

Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston president, said solutions to the problem of violence must be found. "Violence is destroying the schools, the places where we work, and many homes in the United States," said Marks. "It must stop. We in education can do more to solve these problems, and 'The Brutal Truth' is a radical, collaborative step in that direction."

Gary Bouse, executive director of university advancement at SHSU, praised the McGovern Foundation for its willingness to invest in the innovative project, and Cochran for her efforts in researching new avenues of support.

"Most philanthropic foundations experienced record growth in their assets during the past year," said Bouse. "However, few have undertaken new directions in their grant making," noting that this gift is the first made by the foundation to Sam Houston State University.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Aug. 4, 2000
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