Susan Patterson to retire as Knight Foundation program director

Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The program director for Charlotte at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation plans to retire at the end of the year, the foundation announced Wednesday.

Susan Patterson joined the foundation in 2001 and developed Knight investments in Charlotte that included the Carolina Thread Trail; the cultural facilities campaign and naming of Knight Theater; Crossroads Charlotte, a community-wide engagement project; laptops for elementary students in Project LIFT; the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, and most recently, expansion of Center City Partners’ work in the Historic West End.

“Susan came to Knight Foundation with the same mission she had as a reporter, editor and publisher of Knight Ridder newspapers. To strengthen the communities she served by helping them be better informed and more engaged in shaping their own futures,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “She has been a leader at Knight, a valued colleague and a dear friend.”

Before joining the foundation, Patterson was editor-publisher of the Union-Recorder in Milledgeville, Ga., and earlier worked at The Charlotte News and The Charlotte Observer.

“What I’ve treasured most are the friendships with my Knight colleagues and my relationships with civic and nonprofit leaders across the community. It’s been such a privilege to work alongside all of them,” Patterson said.

The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.

The foundation works in the 26 communities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight had owned newspapers. The Knights bought The Charlotte Observer in 1954.