An $8.7 million donation with its roots in old media is going to go a long way toward helping San Jose State journalism students with their new-media futures.

Jack and Emma Anderson, whose Globe Printing Co. printed the Spartan Daily for two decades beginning in the 1950s, made the gift -- the sixth largest in San Jose State history -- as a bequest to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Jack Anderson died in 1989. Emma, who had been the company's bookkeeper and ran it for a few years after her husband's death, passed away last March at age 92.

SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, who announced the gift Wednesday morning, noted that the couple turned their printing enterprise on South First Street into a learning lab for San Jose State students. And when students gained the ability to design the college paper on campus instead of at the print shop, Jack Anderson had a ceremony to bury the old printing press.

The Andersons were longtime friends of Dwight Bentel, the founder of the school's journalism program, who died last May at the age of 103. Bentel, who ran the department for 30 years, encouraged the couple to leave a legacy gift to the school.

"Jack and Emma always believed our students should be well-prepared and able to compete in the global marketplace," Qayoumi said. The Andersons have left a similar-sized gift to Santa Clara University.

This is great news for San Jose State's program, which develops advertising and public relations students in addition to journalists. It was one of only two California schools that College Media Matters named among the top 50 programs in the country and it has produced five Pulitzer Prize winners.

It's a shame the cash-strapped school can't use the money to keep classes from being cut. Instead, San Jose State plans to create an endowment with the majority of the money. The rest will be used to fund infrastructure improvements and establish a Center for New Media and Social Media Research.

Bob Rucker, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, could barely contain his excitement about what the future might hold. "A gift like this," he said, "we're still pinching ourselves."

Email Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.