Matt Lauer's Alma Mater Keeping 'Today' Show Internship He Helped Start

11/29/2017 11:46 AM PST

Matt Lauer's Alma Mater Ohio University Keeping 'Today' Show Internship

EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer was an integral part in developing an exclusive NBC journalism internship for Ohio University students, and despite the news of his firing over sexual misconduct, it's going to stay active ... TMZ has learned.

A spokesperson for Ohio U. tells us ... Lauer was instrumental in starting the "Today" Show Internship at Scripps College of Communications in 2000, and over 60 students have benefited from the program since it began.

The school says it's disappointed to hear of Lauer's alleged conduct at NBC, but also believes the news "serves as an opportunity for continued dialogue with our faculty, staff and students about ethical workplace and personal values."

We're told the "Today" internship will go on -- at least for its next session -- and 4 current students are already set to travel to NYC in January for the spring semester internship.

Lauer dropped out of Ohio U. in 1979, but went back to get his undergrad there in 1997 at the age of 39.

As we reported ... he was fired Wednesday morning for "inappropriate sexual behavior."