Behind The Scenes

Van Pelt’s donation helps put University of Maryland radio station fundraiser over its goal

University of Maryland student Liam Beatus and Scott Van Pelt at an event at the school. (Courtesy Liam Beatus)
University of Maryland student Liam Beatus and Scott Van Pelt at an event at the school. (Courtesy Liam Beatus)

Scott Van Pelt has been on vacation this week after spending last week covering the Masters Tournament for ESPN but that didn’t mean that the midnight SportsCenter anchor wasn’t thinking about his alma mater, the University of Maryland.

Van Pelt’s support of the school is well-documented but he kicked it up a notch on Thursday when, while playing golf on vacation, he responded to a tweet from a student asking for a donation to the campus radio station’s fundraiser:

Liam Beatus, a junior in Maryland’s Merrill College of Journalism, is marketing director for WMUC, the student radio station, and will be co-station manager next year. He’s met Van Pelt on several occasions.

“He (Van Pelt) is great with the journalism school,” said Beatus in a telephone interview with Front Row. “He likes to make a trip to our building once a year. Between that and I do a lot of media for the basketball events, so I know who he usually goes with and I’ve gone up to him and said hello. We’re not strangers.”

Van Pelt was among a number of alumni that Beatus and others contacted during the fundraiser and Van Pelt’s interaction with Beatus on Twitter was picked up by several news organizations while it continued gaining traction.

The station covers the Division I sports teams at Maryland with talk shows, play-by-play of games and game recaps, and the fundraiser was meant to increase the station’s ability to travel student journalists to away games for more of the sports teams.

“I’m not sure how it snowballed into what it became,” Beatus said. “When I saw a few hours later that he had responded to yesterday’s tweet I was pleasantly surprised because it was a last-day effort to see if we could get any extra donors. And after that we got a 24-hour extension and donations have kept coming in since.”

“It’s not too complicated,” Van Pelt told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “They’re the next wave of Terps. They’re far more motivated than I was at the same age. I never worked for WMUC, but I have gotten to know many of them through the Merrill College. I admire their passion. Ours is a business of good luck as much as anything. If some funding helps to improve the odds of them getting lucky, I am happy to help.”

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