Arthur and Shirley Sotloff, the parents of Steven Sotloff, a Miami-based journalist who was beheaded by ISIS militants in 2014 after being kidnapped, have pledged $125,000 to the School of Communication to create the Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund.
The fund, created through the 2LIVES: Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation, will provide a yearly scholarship to a journalism student at the University of Miami who is in need of financial aid and has shown academic success.
Arthur said his son was trying, through his reporting, to help those who were suffering.
“He took it as his responsibility to bring these stories to life,” Arthur said. “He went to the Middle East and saw all of the injustices that affected the people, and his writing was all about the people and the human factor. He gave his life for this.”
While Steven did not attend UM, his parents say he was a fan of the Hurricanes and the school was an integral part of the community in which their son was born and raised.
“We are honored and proud to be associated with the Sotloff family and the memory of Steven. This scholarship throws good against evil, making a gift from tragedy,” said SoC Dean Gregory Shepherd. “Steven practiced journalism so he could tell the stories of everyday people suffering through the cruel conflicts of the Middle East. He practiced heroic journalism. I have strong faith that the students benefitting from this award will carry that heroism forward.”
Last November, the school hosted an event in which Ilene Prusher, a former editor of Sotloff’s, spoke to students, faculty and alumni about the dangers facing journalists covering conflicts in the Middle East. She said that journalists who wanted to help resolve the conflicts had become targets for militants looking to ransom their lives to the journalist’s country or news organization.
“Steven Sotloff and James Foley were both freelancers who were working in Syria who really went with the intention of conveying a picture of what’s happening in one of the most devastating conflicts of our time,” Prusher said. “Instead of shedding light, they’ve had their blood shed.”
Sotloff wrote for several publications including Time Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post and L.A. Times.