Ted Turner Honored by Tech's Ivan Allen College
Ted Turner, media entrepreneur and philanthropist, is the recipient of the 2008 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service - presented by the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech. In 1997 Turner bestowed a historic $1 billion to establish the United Nations Foundation. In 2003, he gave $45 million to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a program he co-chairs with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. The prize will be awarded at the College's annual Founder's Day luncheon on March 31.
"The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts is proud to award Ted Turner the 2008 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service in recognition of his leadership, vision and generous gifts to the United Nations and the Nuclear Threat Initiative," said Sue V. Rosser, dean of the Ivan Allen College.
Previous recipients of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service include local media entrepreneur Charles Smithgall and his wife Lessie (2007); Jesse Hill Jr., Atlanta businessman and civil rights leader (2006); Will Wright, co-founder of Maxis and original designer of SimCity and The Sims computer games (2005); former Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (2004); Molly Ivins, nationally syndicated columnist (2003); Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President and Georgia Governor (2002); and Zell Miller, former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor (2001).
Turner began his career as an account executive with Turner Advertising Company and entered the television business in 1970 when he acquired Atlanta independent UHF station channel 17. In 1976, Turner purchased Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves and launched TBS Superstation, originating the "Superstation" concept. The following year, Turner Broadcasting System acquired the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks, and in 1980 Turner launched CNN, the world's first live, 24-hour global news network.
Over the next two decades, the company built a portfolio of unrivaled cable television news and entertainment brands and businesses, including CNN Headline News, CNN International, TNT, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies. In the mid-'90s, Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema became Turner Broadcasting properties. In October 1996, the company merged with Time Warner Inc., and in 2001, Time Warner merged with AOL to create AOL Time Warner. The company later changed its name back to Time Warner Inc.
In addition to his media enterprise, Turner is one of the most influential philanthropists in the United States.
He is the chairman of the Turner Foundation founded in 1990, to support efforts for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect our climate, safeguarding environmental health, maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population growth rates.
The Turner Endangered Species Fund is a core grantee of the Turner Foundation, which works to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing restoration efforts of endangered or imperiled species on Turner properties.
In September 1997, Turner announced his historic pledge of up to $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation. The organization supports the goals and objectives of the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. The Foundation has identified four core priorities: women and population, children's health, the environment, and peace and security.
In early 2001, Turner launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which he co-chairs with former Senator Sam Nunn. NTI is working to close the growing and increasingly dangerous gap between the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the global response.
Turner later created two independent film production companies, Ted Turner Pictures and Ted Turner Documentaries, which produced the major motion picture Gods and Generals and the critically acclaimed PBS documentary Avoiding Armageddon, respectively.
In January 2002, Turner opened the first Ted's Montana Grill in Columbus, Ohio, with his partner, George W. McKerrow Jr., founder of the Longhorn Steakhouse chain. Ted's Montana Grill offers classic American comfort food, including bison or beef burgers, in an authentic Montana bar and grill atmosphere. To date, Ted's Montana Grill operates more than 50 restaurants nationwide.
Turner is also chairman of Turner Enterprises, a private company, which manages his business interests, land holdings and investments, including the oversight of 2 million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, and more than 45,000 bison head. Through Turner Enterprises, Turner manages the largest commercial bison herd in North America on 15 ranches in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including being named Time magazine's 1991 Man of the Year and Broadcasting and Cable's Man of the Century in 1999.