TEMPE, Ariz. — Washington State University and ABC Inc. teamed up to honor Keith Jackson during his final college football broadcast by announcing a $100,000 scholarship in his name.
The Keith Jackson Distinguished Presidential Scholarship, established with a $50,000 commitment from WSU and a $50,000 match from ABC, “honors Keith’s outstanding career and pursuit of excellence while benefiting outstanding students who also seek excellence,” said WSU President Samuel Smith. The fund will generate scholarship awards for high-achieving students as part of WSU’s presidential scholarship program. Jackson graduated from WSU with a degree in broadcast communications in 1954 and has been an avid supporter of the university.
ABC surprised Jackson by announcing the scholarship after a halftime tribute to him during his final broadcast at the Fiesta Bowl today.
Jackson discovered his love of sports announcing and began his broadcasting career at WSU. Then-KWSU radio manager Bert Harrison recalls how one day, the husky police science major with a thick Georgia drawl came into the campus radio station and complained to the manager about the quality of the station’s football play-by-play broadcasts. “We said, if you’re so good — try it yourself,” said Harrison, now retired. “We gave him a tape recorder, and sent him down to the high school game. When he brought the tape back, we knew he had talent. He changed his major, and the rest is history.” Jackson also met his wife, Turi, a local girl, on the Pullman campus.
Jackson’s talents, advice, and philanthropy have benefited WSU for many years. As charter members of the WSU Foundation, he and Turi established and continue to contribute to scholarship funds in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication and in athletics, and he chaired a fund-raising drive to build the university’s alumni center.