Edmund Ansin, a pioneer in local television and a generous friend of the College, whose name adorns one of Emerson’s buildings, died Sunday, July 26, at his home in Miami, at the age of 84.
Ansin, co-founder, president, and CEO of Sunbeam Television Corp., — owner of WHDH TV-Channel 7 in Boston, as well as two stations in South Florida – was not an alumnus of Emerson, he was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. But since the 1990s, when he bought Channel 7, Ansin was one of Emerson’s most steadfast and generous benefactors.
He gave Emerson students and graduates internships and jobs at his stations. He gave abundantly to numerous scholarships at the College, personally endowing two. And in 1997, he gave a significant gift to support the WERS/School of the Arts Fund. In gratitude and respect, the College named 180 Tremont Street, home of WERS, for Ansin’s parents.
“Emerson College is saddened to learn of the passing of groundbreaking television executive Ed Ansin. He made an indelible mark in the Boston media landscape and, as a longtime supporter of Emerson, his philanthropy continues to ensure our student journalists will thrive,” Emerson President Lee Pelton said.
In a 2016 interview with Emerson Today, Ansin said he first became interested in Emerson in 1993, when he bought WHDH and his general manager’s son was a student here. But his relationship with the College dates back even further, albeit indirectly, through his close friend of decades, Art Teitelbaum ’60, a WERS alum and longtime head of the Anti-Defamation League in South Florida.
“I knew him for 40 years, maybe more, and [Emerson] was the love of his life, apart from from his family, of course,” Ansin said of Teitelbaum in 2016, the year he endowed the Art Teitelbaum ’60 Memorial Scholarship, which supports Journalism majors with financial need from Massachusetts.
The Teitelbaum Scholarship was the second he funded at Emerson. In 2002, he endowed the Ed Ansin Diversity Scholarship, to support students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, or first-generation college students.
Journalism major Ashley Menard ’20 attended a 2016 reception with Ansin in the building that bears his name, for recipients of his scholarships. The then-first-year student told Emerson Today that Emerson was the only college she wanted to attend, and that until she received the Ansin Diversity Scholarship, she wasn’t sure she could make that happen.
“Just knowing I didn’t have to settle for another school was just an amazing feeling,” she said.