n The man who is constitutionally
looking for a U.S. journalism school to help still eagerly showed visitors around our col- Mary Garbacz, head of Strategic have begun with a brief overview of the
develop journalism education in Ethiopia lege’s first-class home. Discussions for Nebraska, housed in the J Coptic Church in Ethiopia, wandered across unable to pass up a chance to make a pun.
and Kosovo. Under his tenure, faculty numbers school, seconded that notion. “His leader- the evolution of rhetoric in ancient Greece, n The man who takes your pile of mail
By CHARLYNE BERENS Aadland had attended Wheaton increased from 18 to 33, allowing us to offer ship style allows individuals to develop their slipped into First Amendment issues pend- and, while you’re talking to someone else,
College in Illinois as an undergrad and more classes and more intense instruction. own abilities, providing guidelines as neces- ing in Kosovo or slid through the contem- moves it to a different part of the office and
Will Norton hired me in 1990, only a few remembered a professor named Will We’re among a dozen journalism programs sary,” Garbacz said. “He is able to see indi- porary economic policies of Kyrgyzstan, but then can’t keep a straight face when you
months after he had arrived in Nebraska, to Norton – Will Norton Sr. Aadland got in in the nation that are part of the Carnegie viduals’ abilities and helps to cultivate those in the end, all roads led to Memorial confront him about it.
be assistant to the dean. I became full-time touch with the retired professor to ask Knight Initiative to help journalism schools abilities beyond the individuals’ wildest Stadium — where it wasn’t unheard of for n The man who chokes up when he
faculty in 1995 and have been teaching ever which schools would be likely partners. Not help their students adapt to the new media dreams.” him to spend hours, sometimes days, ana- talks to the seniors at the graduation recep-
since. I also was editor of the J Alumni News surprisingly, Dr. Norton told Aadland his world. This fall we’ll become part of ABC All that takes time, of course, and at lyzing the potential impact of a fifth-year, tion about the education they received here
from the time Will founded it in 1991 until son, Will Jr., was dean of the journalism col- News’ campus news bureaus network. You UNL Will was in his office pretty much fourth-string walk-on tight end from and what they must remember for the
the current issue. I’m honored to write this lege at Nebraska. Aadland got in touch with can see more of Will’s achievements at every day, including weekends – when he Benkelman.” future.
farewell story about Will and beg your indul- Will, who saw the opportunities the part- www.unl.edu/journalism/cojmc/alumni/j was in town. He conscientiously answered Ah, the energy required to be a Husker n The man who doesn’t cuss and so,
gence of its personal tone. nership presented. Off we went on this new, news.shtml. his e-mail from airports and hotels and fan! But energy is something Will does not instead, has to wave his arms, wrinkle up his
international adventure to make the world As emeritus faculty member Bud Pagel international universities and from various lack. face and rant to show his frustration.
n his first day on campus in safe for journalism. said in a note to Will, “There’s not a single time zones and at various times of day and It was when she accompanied the dean n The man who can get so caught up in
summer 1990, Will Norton While the university’s capital campaign category in the college that you haven’t lift- night. Always full of ideas. Always excited to Ethiopia that Creighton realized just how something funny that he laughs until he
parked behind Avery Hall, then of 2000 didn’t exactly pop out of the ed to a new level — the building, the equip- about the next thing. Always in a hurry. much energy Will has. “He just kept going doubles up and can barely breathe.
the college’s home. When he ground, Will took full advantage of the ment, the endowment, the curriculum, fac- Faculty member Trina Creighton trav- and going,” she said. “I never saw him tired. n The man who gets teary-eyed just
came out of Avery some hours later, his car ulty publication, faculty governance, the eled with Will to Ethiopia in 2005. She I never saw him pause. I never saw him turn hearing about an act of kindness or com-
was gone — towed because he didn’t have caliber of our students, the caliber of our remembers changing planes in Frankfurt, down an invitation. This man has more passion.
a UNL parking permit. teachers, our national and local reputa- Germany, in a huge, crowded airport thick energy than 10 men.” n The man who adores little kids and
Nineteen years later, as he prepared tion, our sense of institutional pride, our with cigarette smoke. Both she and Will Will was known for arriving in will immediately get on his knees to talk to
to leave UNL for Ole Miss, Will still splut- … well, you know the list.” were loaded with video equipment and lug- Nebraska from Kyrgystan or Ethiopia at any little person who comes to Andersen
tered about that incident. “My first day on As Pagel notes, one category that has gage, but the dean snaked his way through midnight and showing up in the office Hall.
campus and someone has my car towed!” risen to a new level is faculty research and the crowds so quickly that Creighton could before 8 the next morning. Michelle n The man who does an outlandish
he cried. publication. But it’s research and publica- barely keep up. “Thank goodness he was Hassler, assistant to the dean, said she was imitation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
That half serious, half joking rant tion on our own terms, not those wearing a red Nebraska baseball cap,” she always amazed by Will’s ability to bounce n The man whose office is loaded with
was just one of Will’s characteristics that imposed from on high. This faculty does said. “I never took my eyes off that red cap.” back from international travel. photographs of friends and family from, lit-
became familiar to journalism faculty, some traditional academic research but Barney McCoy, another faculty mem- “One time when we were discussing the erally, all over the world.
staff and others in the UNL community mostly not. We write books and magazine ber, also has fond memories of that red difficulty of sleeping on long flights,” n The man who simply cares, deeply,
— along with a tenderheartedness that articles, we mount photo exhibits, pro- Nebraska cap. McCoy had landed in Kosovo Hassler said, “he related how he once took about people near and far. As Trina
sometimes brings Will to tears, a laugh duce video documentaries and advertis- on a cold, drizzly night, prepared to teach a four Benadryl to ensure some shut eye. But Creighton said, “He has one of the biggest
that can get totally out of control, a love of ing campaigns. And, thanks to Will’s stint at the journalism program in Pristina. when it came time to disembark, he had a hearts I’ve ever seen.”
puns that borders on the manic, a work tenacity, the university looks at that as He was waiting outside the airport when “it very hard time walking and — as he Matthew Hansen, now an Omaha
ethic and energy that won’t quit and a evidence that we know how to practice suddenly dawned on me that I could barely described it — he did a slow-motion, high- World-Herald reporter, graduated from the J
determined vision for what this college what we teach and says it qualifies a facul- speak any Albanian. I had only a vague idea step march off the plane and into the termi- school in 2003. He remembers an incident
can and should be. Dean Norton visits with a student in the newsroom ty member for tenure and promotion. about how I’d get to my hotel,” McCoy nal.” from that year’s graduation reception:
Will Norton became the founding Rick Edwards became UNL’s senior recalled. Undoubtedly, Will told that story with “My grandmother was there, and
dean of the journalism school at the chance it offered to revolutionize the col- vice chancellor in 1997, arriving with what But then, “From across the airport plenty of self-deprecating laughter. He loves Norton always remembered her because she
University of Mississippi this summer. He lege’s physical facilities. The goal was to pur- he calls “a great spurt of enthusiasm for street, I spotted this bright red baseball cap. to laugh and to make other people laugh. had an identical twin. Except her twin, my
insists he is an ordinary, innocent, straight- chase the Security Mutual building on ramping up high-powered research on cam- It was emblazoned with a big Nebraska “N” Dane Stickney, an Omaha World- great-aunt, had just died. Norton heard that
forward man. His friends and colleagues Centennial Mall between P and Q streets pus. … Will, wily dean that he was, knew to logo and appeared to be floating and bob- Herald reporter, was a freshman in 1998. He news, and he stood with my grandma for a
know better. He is a complex visionary, a and get it renovated. Will joined with the keep his head down in the midst of this bing its way through the crowd. said he thought the dean would be a serious, long time.
leader who has fostered the college’s tradi- University of Nebraska Foundation and administrative storm, because he had a dif- “When the baseball cap was about 12 academic sort of guy. “I did not “There were a million other people
tional commitment to its students and has community leaders to raise the bucks. ferent idea. Will had perhaps the most defi- feet from me, the man beneath it was expect someone who always had a smile on there Norton needed to gladhand. I
pushed, pulled and inspired the program Will was known in the college and else- nite vision for his college of any dean I ever revealed. He broke through the crowd and his face, who told jokes, who seemed to love would’ve forgiven him had his eyes been
into international prominence. where on campus as a prodigious fundrais- worked with, and it did not turn on the welcomed me to Kosovo. He had a big, every single second of his job. But with Will, darting around, looking for a way out.
Will had a hard act to follow. Neale er, although he liked to say he thought peo- research model.” Will kept insisting that “it toothy grin and sturdy handshake. That that’s exactly what I got. … What we do is Instead he held her hand and he listened.
Copple, the dean he succeeded, had taken ple gave to the college just because they felt is quality, not its form, that matters,” man was Will Norton. Suddenly, Kosovo serious, to be sure, but Norton helped “I’m sure Norton doesn’t remember
the program from department to school to sorry for him. Regardless of the reason, they Edwards said. And that notion prevailed. became a familiar place.” remind everyone journalism is supposed to this. I bet my grandma doesn’t either. I do,
college. When Will came, he repeatedly told did give. The building was purchased, reno- But it wasn’t just chancellors and vice For Will, Memorial Stadium was also a be fun.” though, and it’s weird how a simple act of
everyone he wasn’t going to change a thing. vated and furnished entirely with private chancellors who felt the strength of Will’s familiar place. The man fell head over heels So Will Norton has vision, determina- compassion can stick with you forever.”
But, of course, he did. He recognized and money. vision and determination. During his 19 for Nebraska football. Not that it always tion, fundraising skill, energy, the leadership Compassionate, driven, talented,
built on the foundation Neale had laid for We moved here in August 2001, awed years, Will has built strong partnerships made him happy. In fact, it often led to abilities of a successful politician and a funny, visionary and sometimes just a little
the college. He knew if we didn’t keep mov- by the quality of our new surroundings. We with other parts of the campus. Jack Oliva, some of his famous rants about what was boundless sense of humor. But those of us weird. Will is all of that, and it is all of that
ing, the world would leave us behind. So he hadn’t realized how ratty things were over in dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and wrong or what should be fixed, who should who have worked with him will also miss that we will miss. But as he leaves Nebraska,
planned ahead. Avery Hall until we got to Andersen. Thanks Performing Arts, said he has appreciated go and who should stay. Will, the character: he takes with him the gratitude of hundreds
He also took full advantage of opportu- to a major donation from and other dona- Will’s “willingness to forge new and inter- Faculty member Joe Starita remembers n The man who sings hymns — or who have benefitted from his leadership, his
nities that dropped from the sky or popped tions in support of Harold and Marian esting collaborations with others, and of those discussions: “My conversations with “There Is No Place Like Nebraska” — as he humor and his kindness.
out of the ground in front of him. For Andersen, the building was named course, in particular, our college. He is a Will ultimately ended, without fail, in dis- works in his office, sometimes loudly Thanks, Will. And we’re really sorry
example, Oyvind Aadland, then with Andersen Hall. Even eight years later, Will terrific colleague.” cussions of Nebraska football. They may enough to be heard in the lobby. your car got towed. n
Gimlekollen University in Norway, was
4 SUMMER 2009 33 J ALUMNI NEWS 5
DEAN’S COLUMN By Will Norton Jr.
Oh, how the years go by!
Dean predicts bright what journalism
Dean Copple and their faculties.
Indeed, Copple’s faculty members
of the St. Paul Pioneer Press;
JOE WEBER, former Chicago bureau
Nebraska has become our identity.
When I travel I usually wear a red baseball
future for CoJMC be. He had helped were unwavering in their commitment to chief of Business Week; cap with a white Nebraska “N.” Aggressive
me understand principles that produced outstanding PHIL WILLETT, senior art director at parents and friends often stop at my chair
that the goals he graduates whose professional achieve- BBDO in New York and other major agen- in airport Red Carpet Clubs and ask how
had expressed ments enabled the school to continue to cies in Boston and New York; and to help their field goal-kicking son or
SCOTT WINTER, a former newspaper bruising running back get an evaluation
t seems like just a few years ago in were achieved advance.
mid-afternoon on a Sunday in through an un- We hired several outstanding gradu- reporter in North Dakota. from the Nebraska staff.
August 1990 that I pulled into complicated and ates of UNL: Outstanding faculty members had On the road, I often break out singing
Lincoln with a trailer full of books basic curriculum TIM ANDERSON, former news design been hired by Dean Copple and continue “There is no place like Nebraska.” It may be
and moved into a small apartment that was in place editor of The New York Times; to be part of our college: on the Great Wall of China, along the walk
on South 17th Street. at the University RUTH BROWN, newspaper and maga- RICK ALLOWAY from KFOR and Bailey in front of the Kennedy Library at Addis
I was not a national figure like the
three administrators who preceded me.
of Nebraska and
in the dedicated faculty who had been
zine editor and radio staffer who has
taught for many years at the University of
Lewis in Lincoln;
JOHN BENDER, from small newspa-
Ababa University or in a park in Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan. I love this place, and I am bull-
Indeed, faculty wondered what kind of
hire this was. I realized it would be diffi-
hired. I took in every word and became a
KATHRYN CHRISTENSEN, former
pers in Missouri and Kansas;
NANCY MITCHELL, from Harte Hanks
ish on the University of Nebraska. I believe
Chancellor Harvey Perlman has it advanc- interim dean
cult, but I wanted to be in Lincoln at the That is why, despite faculty anxiety managing editor of the Baltimore Sun, for- newspapers in Texas; ing at an unimaginable pace, and I believe
rofessor Charlyne Berens was named CoJMC’s interim
University of Nebraska. Dean R. Neale
Copple had established a national reputa-
about a change in administrators, I
thought my stewardship at Nebraska
mer director of “ABC World News Tonight
with Peter Jennings” and former vice pres-
JERRY RENAUD, from radio stations in
Florida and Nebraska;
the current capital campaign is going to be
exceptionally successful. P dean, effective July 1.
Berens has taught journalism full time at UNL since
tion for the college. He clearly was the would be effective. We had led in solid ident of TV for the Wall Street Journal; LINDA SHIPLEY, from an ad agency in I have no doubts that the College of
alpha administrator in journalism educa- improvements at Ole Miss. So I was sure CARLA KIMBROUGH, former associate New York; and Journalism and Mass Communications is 1995. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia
tion, and his college was the place to be. the faculty eventually would realize that I editor of the Denver Post; LARRY WALKLIN, directly from Ph.D. set to move to the next level. The students University in Seward, and an M.A. and Ph.D., both in polit-
I knew there had only been three shared their values and would be successful MARY KAY QUINLAN, former reporter graduate work at Michigan State. are among the best on the campus. The ical science, from UNL.
administrators of the school since 1946. as their advocate. and editor at Gannett News Service; The faculty members hired during faculty is the envy of programs throughout In announcing the appointment, Barbara Couture,
Bill Swindler had been director from 1946 JOE STARITA, former investigative Dean Copple’s and my tenure have as the nation. The endowment is solid, and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, noted Berens’
to ’56 before leaving to join the faculty of OH, HOW THE YEARS GO BY! reporter for the Miami Herald; and much experience and work harder than the facilities are attractive and truly func- long tenure in the college, her leadership style and strong
the School of Law at William and Mary. I had first learned of the School of SRIYANI TIDBALL, owner of two adver- any faculty I know. They are incredible. tional. reputation among faculty and media professionals.
Bill Hall had served for 10 years until 1966. Journalism at UNL during the fall of 1972 tising agencies in Sri Lanka. Now we move on, but Nebraska Berens’ connections with students and strong teaching
His prize hire was a fellow named Neale after the school had received a glowing The faculty made other great hires of OH, HOW THE YEARS GO BY! always will be with us. While I no longer credentials also are important for the college’s future,
Copple, and Neale had been director of the accreditation review from a visiting site outstanding professionals with intellectual They have been a source of strength and will be dean this fall when classes begin, my Couture said.
school until 1985 when he was named team chaired by Ed Bassett of the depth: productivity that is recognized throughout thoughts will be with the college and the “Having served as a sequence head in the college,
dean of the newly created college. University of Kansas. I had been at the CHARLYNE BERENS, former editor of the world, and this June 30 when I turn off faculty. Charlyne has demonstrated her commitment to the suc-
No matter what others thought, I University of Iowa when the School of the Seward County Independent; the lights and close the door of my office As the years go by, Susan and I will be cess of the college,” the vice chancellor said in an e-mail
believed I could be a good steward of the Journalism had lost its accreditation. In SUE BURZYNSKI BULLARD, former for the last time, I will think of Swindler, watching your investment in the future. to faculty. “She will bring to the position a broad knowl-
values of the college. I believed in the prin- November 1975 two professors, the editor managing editor of The Detroit News; Hall and Copple, and, oh, how I will miss And we will applaud your peerless com- edge of the college’s programs, challenges and opportuni-
ciples and values Hall and Copple had of the Daily Iowan, a Ph.D. student and I TRINA CREIGHTON, former TV this faculty. mitment to excellence. ties.”
established. were sent to Lincoln to see what made the reporter in Omaha; Nebraska has been our family’s home. We are so proud of this university. We Berens replaced Will Norton Jr., who is leaving for
Nebraska school so special. MARY GARBACZ, reporter for newspa- Our children have advanced from kinder- are so proud of this college. the University of Mississippi. The search for a permanent
THE IDEAL MENTOR Unfortunately, we hit a blinding bliz- pers and television stations in Nebraska; garten and second grade to graduate from We will never forget you.
replacement for Norton will begin in August.
Copple was a mentor. He gladly offered his zard in Newton, Iowa, and barely made it FRAUKE HACHTMANN, former staff the university and stand on the threshold Oh, how the years go by!
“I’m honored but also maybe a little bit shell-
services and advice because he wanted to to Des Moines before the freeway closed. member in marketing for the Huskers; of professional careers.
shocked,” Berens said. “I appreciate the confidence the
improve journalism education. He had We were able to get a place in a motel for MICHELLE HASSLER, former reporter I love this place and will miss the sun “And when the storms came through
rising over Centennial Mall as I scurry to a They found me and you, chancellor and senior vice chancellor have shown in me,
helped the Department of Journalism at the night, and by the time the roads were and editor at the Lincoln Journal Star;
the University of Mississippi to integrate cleared we had to head back to Iowa City. BARNEY MCCOY, former TV reporter meeting in the Union. I will long remem- Back to back together. and I also appreciate the support I’ve received from my
broadcasting into its curriculum, and he and anchor in Detroit and Ohio; ber watching youngsters visiting the neigh- And when the sun would shine colleagues in journalism. This was not something I sought,
had promoted that program. He had OH, HOW THE YEARS GO BY! BRUCE MITCHELL, former videograph- boring Lincoln Children’s Museum run- It was yours and mine, but I’m very happy to do whatever it takes to help the col-
helped me become a member of every In the 19 years since that late August after- er with Snitily Carr in Lincoln; ning and tumbling in front of Andersen Yours and mine forever.” lege continue to move forward.”
major journalism committee on which an noon when I arrived in Lincoln, faculty LUIS PEON-CASANOVA, former staffer Hall on the grass of Centennial Mall. I will Her colleagues lauded the appointment. “Dr. Berens
educator might serve. At national meet- advancement has been significant, and the at Nebraska Educational Telecommunica- treasure memories of drinking coffee while — Composed by embodies all the characteristics of a great leader,” said
ings, we always had talked for hours. He university is establishing itself as a center tions; sitting at the Holman Plaza. I hope to get Will Jennings and Simon Climie associate professor Barney McCoy, who taught a class
devoted a lot of his time to talking with of excellence on the Great Plains. Those LAURIE THOMAS LEE, with experience back every year to savor the mounting ten- with Berens last year. “She is hard-working and talented,
young administrators. benchmarks have been met by following in radio; sion before a big game in Memorial firm, yet fair. She brings people together.” ››
He communicated a broad vision of the values articulated by Director Hall, BRUCE THORSON, former photo chief Stadium on a cloudless October afternoon.
6 SUMMER 2009 33 J ALUMNI NEWS 7
Professor Joe Starita called Berens “the consum-
Remembering Will Norton
mate team player.” She “is superbly well-organized, has a J Alumni News asked faculty, staff, students me, with a great spurt of enthusiasm for be correct. His leadership style allows indi- Benadryl to ensure some shut eye. But when SHANE PEKNY
ridiculous work ethic, genuinely loves the profession and and other UNL administrators to tell us ramping up high-powered research on cam- viduals to develop their own abilities, pro- it came time to disembark, he had a very 2003 GRADUATE
the students and has the patience of Job — a critical qual- some of the things they especially remem- pus. Will, wily dean that he was, knew to viding guidelines as necessary. He has hard time walking and — as he described it Will is a pretty high-energy leader —
ity when called upon to oversee a herd of high-strung, ber about Will. keep his head down in the midst of this always had an ability to use his sense of — he did a slow motion, high-step march off always moving, always thinking. But he did-
overwrought adrenaline junkies posing as journalism pro- administrative storm, because he had a dif- humor to calm ruffled feathers and move the plane and into the terminal. n’t hesitate 10 years ago to slow down and
fessors,” he said. TRINA CREIGHTON ferent idea. issues forward. Andersen Hall won’t be the same place discuss with me the future and my place in
Students also were pleased. “I think Dr. Berens was FACULTY MEMBER Will had perhaps the most definite He is a leader, mentor and friend. He is without him. He was a terrific boss who it. I still value that conversation; Will started
a smart choice,” said Emily Ingram, a senior news-editori- My fondest memories of our dean vision for his college of any dean I ever able to see individuals’ abilities and helps to always kept up our spirits with his wonder- me on a path that, given another chance, I
al and advertising major. “She will no doubt keep things began when I had the good fortune to worked with, and it did not turn on the cultivate those abilities beyond the individu- ful sense of humor. would take again and again.”
running smoothly and continue the progress made by the accompany him on my first trip to Ethiopia. research model. Unlike Columbia and als’ wildest dreams.
college to adjust during a time of great change in our That’s when I began to understand the cal- Missouri and some other J schools where all BARNEY MCCOY CHUCK PIPER
industries.” iber of the man I call Dr. Norton. the energy is poured into graduate, even MATTHEW HANSEN FACULTY MEMBER EMERITUS FACULTY
Berens has taught news writing and reporting, We were in the crowded Frankfurt air- Ph.D., programs, Will’s college would live 2003 GRADUATE Unflappable. The word describes Will so Every time I walk into Andersen Hall, I
editing, freedom of expression and writing for online pub- port, which is huge and thick with cigarette for undergraduates (and some master’s stu- I wandered into Dean Norton’s office well. His zest for life, his optimism, his will- am grateful anew for the difference you’ve
smoke. I’m loaded down with video equip- dents), and it would focus on preparing peo- maybe a dozen times over the years and ingness to do whatever it takes for our col- made in the lives of our students and facul-
lications as well as a media survey course for majors and
ment. Will and I are trying to make our way ple to practice their craft in the real world of never left disappointed. I would go in with a lege to succeed. I’m not sure the word “no” ty. You tend to be self-effacing about your
non-majors. She helped produce “Renovating the
through the crowd. Thank goodness he was journalism. His faculty would, of course, do question, maybe, or a specific topic to dis- is in Will’s vocabulary. contributions. I think you need to take own-
Republic,” the depth-reporting magazine about Germany
wearing a red Nebraska baseball cap research and publish, but Will’s vision cuss. Within minutes Norton would be Whether it’s leading a UNL delegation ership of your accomplishments and justifi-
published in August 2007, and “Fabric as Narrative,” a
because that was the only way I could keep meant that the college kept its focus tightly bemoaning the fate of Nebraska football, to meet with foreign dignitaries or picking able pride in them. You’ve made a tremen-
magazine about international quilting published in 2008. up with him. He snaked his way through on its students. A bold idea, when all the top expounding on Nebraska Press Association up spent cups and plates after a Husker dous difference.
Berens was editor of the journalism alumni magazine that thick crowd of people so quickly, I was brass were shouting “Research!” v. Stuart, opining on Africa, Mississippi, pre-football game lunch, Will has always led I want to thank you for making our stu-
from 1991 until this spring and is director of UNL’s Dow huffing and puffing. I never took my eyes off But Will kept to his vision, patiently those bastards at Northwestern and by example. dents and our faculty realize that they are
Jones Newspaper Fund editing internship boot camp each that red cap; otherwise I would’ve been lost. building his college and enlisting support Missouri. Usually all of these, all at once. I landed in Pristina, Kosovo, three years better than they imagined they could be.
May. That’s when I understood how much energy for his insistence that it is quality, not its During one of these visits he repeated- ago, to teach in one of CoJMC’s many out- I want to thank you for sharing so many
She taught junior high English before spending 14 our dean has. He just kept going and going. form, that matters. It meant hiring faculty ly called a certain former Nebraska football reach initiatives. It was a cold, windy, drizzly years of your life with us, for sharing your
years as editor and co-publisher of the community news- He would get up early in the morning, who didn’t always have traditional academ- coach, “that midget.” I wondered: Had Will December night. I was tired after a long extraordinary children. I especially want to
paper in Seward. and go full speed all day. His day would ic credentials, but they had something more Norton never stood still long enough for trip. thank you for sharing Susan with us. She is
Her 2006 book , Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, is a start with teaching a couple of classes at valuable — real talent and a commitment to someone to measure him? After clearing customs and retrieving a great lady in the finest old Southern defi-
biography of Nebraska’s former U.S. senator. She has also the Addis Ababa University. Then he would seeing their students excel. He enlisted me. So Norton sometimes reminded me of my luggage, I stood outside the dank nition of that phrase.
written two books about the Nebraska Unicameral meet with Ethiopian dignitaries throughout Pretty soon Will, who was going upstream Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” (except without Pristina airport waiting for my ride in a Most of all, I want to thank you for
Legislature. the day, then spend the evening at a profes- when everyone else was going downstream, hair) but he also showed a calmer, sweeter throng of strangers. being my friend. You will always have a spe-
sor’s home, having dinner with his or her convinced everyone that his way was right side at my final J school banquet. My grand- It suddenly dawned on me that I could cial place in my thoughts and my heart. I
family, which was where he treated all of us for his college. The stunning record of mother was there, and Norton always barely speak any Albanian. I had only a know that you will make the same wonder-
to his “corny” humor. When I would hear achievements by the college’s students and remembered her because she had an identi- vague idea about how I’d get to my hotel. ful difference in the lives of students and
T he College of Journalism and Mass
Communications’ invites nomina-
tions and applications for the position
one of his puns or corny stories coming, I
would groan out loud and roll my eyes. That
didn’t seem to bother him, because he never
the college’s bright reputation today show
his vision was right.
cal twin. Except her twin, my great aunt,
had just died.
Norton heard that news and he stood
From across the airport street, I spot-
ted this bright red baseball cap. It was
emblazoned with a big Nebraska “N” logo
faculty in Mississippi that you’ve made in
of Dean. lost a beat, and just kept entertaining the MARY GARBACZ, HEAD with my grandma for a long time. There and appeared to be floating and bobbing JOE STARITA
A description of the position can group. I would tell him to his face, “Oh, Will, STRATEGIC DISCUSSIONS FOR were a million other people there Norton its way through the crowd. FACULTY MEMBER
be found at: http://www.unl.edu/ you have to stop this.” He would laugh and NEBRASKA needed to gladhand. I would’ve forgiven When the baseball cap was about 12 My conversations with Will ultimately
journalism/ADjournalism.pdf. continue on. What first comes to mind is the him had his eyes been darting around, look- feet from me, the man beneath it was end, without fail, in discussions of Nebraska
Applicants must complete the I never saw him tired. I never saw him Hunchback of Notre Dame imitation, which, ing for a way out. revealed. He broke through the crowd and football. They may begin with a brief
faculty/administrative information pause. I never saw him turn down an invita- the first time I witnessed it, totally shocked Instead he held her hand, and he lis- welcomed me to Kosovo. He had a big, overview of the Coptic Church in Ethiopia,
form at http://employment.unl.edu, tion. This man has more energy than 10 me and made time stand still. tened. toothy grin and sturdy handshake. That wander across the evolution of rhetoric in
using requisition #090355. men, and he has one of the biggest hearts But there are other things. Just this I’m sure Norton doesn’t remember man was Will Norton. Suddenly, Kosovo ancient Greece, slip into First Amendment
Applications should be received I’ve ever seen. He truly loves helping and June Will and I were part of an incredibly this. I bet my grandma doesn’t either. became a familiar place. issues pending in Kosovo or slide through
by September 30, 2009. supporting others. He’s amazing. And I will intimidating meeting with the chancellor, I do, though, and it’s weird how a sin- the contemporary economic policies of
Send nominations and applica- miss him. several vice chancellors, NU Foundation gle, simple act of compassion can stick with JACK OLIVA, DEAN Kyrgyzstan, but in the end, all roads lead to
tions to: brass and other high-profile folks in which you forever. HIXSON-LIED COLLEGE OF FINE AND Memorial Stadium — where it’s not unheard
RICK EDWARDS Will was able to pour oil on troubled waters, Thanks, Hugo. PERFORMING ARTS of for him to spend hours, sometimes days,
ECONOMICS PROFESSOR see “agendas” that no one was supposed to What I always admire about Will is his sin- analyzing the potential impact of a fifth-
Giacomo Oliva, Dean
FORMER SENIOR VICE CHANCELLOR know existed and react immediately to MICHELLE HASSLER cere passion and advocacy for his faculty as year, fourth-string walk-on tight end from
Hixson-Lied College of Fine and
FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS them, creating a favorable outcome for ASSISTANT TO THE DEAN well as his focus on providing meaningful, Benkelman.
Will was already at Nebraska when I everyone. I was always amazed at Will’s energy, real-world experiences for the students. I Imagine, then, his reaction six years
c/o Jelena Gude at email@example.com arrived in 1997 to become senior vice chan- I have always said Will is a visionary. especially his ability to bounce back after also appreciated his openness and willing- ago when, while supervising a depth-report-
Telephone: (402)472-3751 cellor. I arrived, as Chancellor James Those of us in lower orbits may not immedi- traveling overseas. One time when we were ness to forge new and interesting collabora- ing project in Cuba, he encountered a wily
Fax: (402)472-4929 Moeser had arrived before me and two ately understand the distance or extent of discussing the difficulty of sleeping on long tions with others, and of course, in particu- socialist sympathizer who had developed a
energetic vice chancellors for research after his vision, but his insight is always proven to flights, he related how he once took four lar, our college. He is a terrific colleague. Big Red fever by listening to pirated ››
8 SUMMER 2009 33 J ALUMNI NEWS 9
REMEMBERING WILL NORTON
radio broadcasts of Husker games on the when Dean Norton asked Mary and me if sausage) and attended my father’s funeral. I was back in my room. Grad assistant
isolated island. Imagine the pure joy when we had heard about the cure for the swine STEVE WALLER, DEAN JUDY YECK Through Will, I became good friends with Zenebe Beyene later told me that Will had
he learned that this subversive soul mate flu? When he got nothing from us but puz- COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL OFFICE STAFF MEMBER Susan, and I will miss the Christmas gifts been pacing back and forth in his office that
also believed that Tommie Frazier got zled looks, he informed us that is was oink- SCIENCE/NATURAL RESOURCES I remember Will’s walking around back from Will, which I am sure she picked out. day, then announced to Zenebe that “I can’t
jobbed out of the Heisman. Imagine the ment. Unique to the “International Punsters by his office and elsewhere singing, in a let Kim wait up there alone” and went to the
unrestrained, unbridled euphoria when he of the World” (an informal organization deep voice, “There is no place like VICKY WHEELER hospital to sit with him.
discovered that both the dean of a major LARRY WALKLIN which must claim Will as one of the charter Nebraska.” He was so easy to work for. BUSINESS MANAGER Kim told me that when the doctor came
U.S. journalism college and a communist FACULTY MEMBER members) and as a tribute to Will’s versatil- Anytime I said he had a phone call, he took I had been told that I had a growth in out and told him “I have no bad news,” Will
cartoonist for a Havana newspaper Will has always had an interest in ity and range in “punning,” all of his puns it. When I said he needed to see a person, my lung, which doctors wanted to remove. I was one big grin, told Kim he was going
marched to the same revolutionary anthem: acquainting current students with the mass qualify as his worst — in fact, they are all he did so. He took time out of his busy found out on a Thursday, and the surgery back to the office and left. I would never
It was time for a regime change in Lincoln. media world “before they hit the earth” by uniformly witty and bad. I am convinced schedule, along with two other professors, was scheduled the following Tuesday. The have known he was there or that he had
I’ve never seen him happier. preserving the “tools of the business” with that the new in phrase “my bad” was actu- to nominate me for the Floyd Oldt Sliver Pen surgery went fine, the growth was not done that for Kim. That was the most
the Andersen Hall displays [of antique ally created as a closer for every one of Award, and I won. He also took the time to malignant and I was in recovery mode. thoughtful, touching thing I’ve ever encoun-
DANE STICKNEY equipment]. To the best of my knowledge Will’s puns. attend the award ceremony. Outside of My husband then told me that Will had tered and one that will always remain in my
2002 GRADUATE there are relatively few university JMC pro- work he came to my nephew’s organ recital, come to the hospital to wait with him heart. Will is a very special man with a
At some point early or maybe even grams that blend high tech with history. my birthday party in Wilber (ate the Czech through my surgery, but he was gone when heart as big and caring as the whole out-
before I started at the J school, I heard doors. n
someone talking about the dean. As a wide-
eyed, soon-to-be freshman from little ol’
Kearney, I had an idea of what a
dean would look like — you know, regal,
The Norton Era
upstanding, maybe wearing tweed and Will Norton became dean of the J school in 1990. Following are some of the high-
horn-rimmed glasses. I didn’t expect Will lights of his tenure.
I did not expect someone who always n Through the university’s capital cam- duction has enhanced the reputation lished 12 years ago in the advertising n A partnership was developed with the Initiative in 2007. Other members:
of the college. department to meet student demand. School of Journalism and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard
had a smile on his face, who told jokes, who paign, an insurance company’s build-
It is now integrated in the strategic Communication in Kristiansand, University, the Pulitzer School of
seemed to love every single second of his ing was purchased, renovated, fur-
job. But with Will, that’s exactly what I nished and equipped for the College n A sophisticated distance-learning pro- communications major. Norway, to create a Graduate School Journalism at Columbia University,
of Journalism at Addis Ababa the Merrill College of Journalism at
got. Have you ever met someone who loves of Journalism and Mass gram was established with a signifi-
what they do more than Will? I don’t think I Communications at a cost of slightly cant number of students earning M.A. n An annual phone drive was developed University in Ethiopia in 2004. This the University of Maryland, the
at the NU Foundation to provide the partnership also enabled the UNL Newhouse School of Journalism at
have. As a student — and, I assume, as a more than $7 million. The college degrees without taking classes on the
college with unrestricted endowment faculty to begin working in Pristina, Syracuse University, The School of
moved to Andersen Hall on campus.
faculty member – that’s infectious. What we Journalism and Mass
Centennial Mall in 2001. funds. Giving has totaled about Kosovo, teaching at the Kosovo
do is serious, to be sure, but Norton helped Communications at the University of
remind everyone journalism is supposed to n Graduate program specializations $30,000 a year, significantly more Institute of Journalism and
North Carolina, the School of
be fun. And I think most of us had plenty of n The full-time faculty increased from 18 were added, and graduate enrollment
than the $3,000 donated in 1991, the Communication in 2006. KIJAC is an
Journalism at the University of
first year of the phone campaign. independent graduate school that is
fun — with the obvious exception of photo J. to 33. That does not include the teach- increased significantly. Missouri, the Medill School of
ing positions for Business n Our J Days program has been pol- pursuing possible accreditation by
Journalism at Northwestern
But Will’s not one-dimensional. Anyone ACEJMC.
who’s passed through the J school recently
Communications and Technical n Service to the state media increased ished and refined and includes alum- University, the School of Journalism
Communications. ni and media professionals. and Mass Communications at
and intensified. Beginning reporting
knows it’s highly regarded nationally. Its
students do reporting for two newspa-
Prominent speakers come to campus n The college began co-sponsoring Arizona State University, the
students — many times smalltown
Nebraskans — tackle international n The college’s endowment increased pers each semester, and students reg-
each year to address the honors con- internships with Nebraska Annenberg School of Journalism at
vocation. Educational Telecommunications and the University of Southern California
more than 2,000 percent before the ularly do depth reports for newspa-
issues. Will deserves a whole bunch of cred- the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and
current economic downturn. Not all of pers in the western part of the state. and the Graduate School of
it for that. His efforts have made my degree
that endowment is with the University n The Department of News-Editorial Performing Arts in 2006. Journalism at Berkeley.
more valuable. (As long as newspapers con-
of Nebraska Foundation. Some n Wo r k w i t h t h e N e b r a s ka P r e s s and the Department of Broadcasting
tinue to, you know, exist.) remains in banks or other foundations Association and the Nebraska
have merged and are devising new n In 2007 the college began consulta- n The college was selected as a site for
I am truly forever indebted to Will but is committed for college use. courses and multimedia news publi- tion with the American University of
Broadcasters Association has intensi- a campus bureau of ABC in spring
Norton. Not for academics. Not for his cations to meet the needs of the Central Asia, helping the program to
fied. For example, distance-learning 2009.
sunny outlook on life. But for getting the J
n The faculty voted in 2004 to restruc- workshops are offered to members of
industry. obtain nearly $400,000 in equipment
school moved from Avery Hall to Andersen for a media center to serve the uni-
ture the college by eliminating depart- the Nebraska Press Association and n The college became a partner in
Hall. I only wish he’d moved a little faster. I ments. The intent was to create an the Nebraska Broadcasters n Technical Communication and versity and media professionals in
“Planet Forward,” a Web page vehi-
had to spend two years in Avery Hall. As Busi-ness Communication have been the area.
administrative structure that more Association. cle for presentation of news and
much as I love prison-issue metal classroom readily deals with convergence. added to the college curriculum. information on energy and the envi-
doors, that place wasn’t exactly high class,
n A professional advisory group was These two programs have increased n Discussions are under way to initiate ronment, in 2009.
if you know what I mean.
n Depar tmental and college staf fs established to help the college evalu-
student credit hour production to similar graduate programs at the
But, of course, leave it to Will to make more than 7,000 a semester from Universidad Xavier de San Francisco,
us happy. Despite all those smiles, I’m sad
merged into a business center opera- ate graduating seniors.
about 3,000 student credit hours a in Sucre, Bolivia, and an independent n A four-course sales emphasis was ini-
tion in the early 1990s. tiated for students who wish to pur-
to see him go. semester in 1990. These courses are entity like KIJAC in Tbilisi, Georgia.
n J Alumni News magazine has been required of business majors, engi- sue careers in sales. It was imple-
n Faculty members with strong profes- published for more than 18 years. mented with the support of Lincoln
sional and intellectual credentials
neering majors and agriculture n The college was selected to be one of broadcasters Dick Chapin and Roger
FACULTY MEMBER majors. 12 programs in the Carnegie Knight
The best/worst pun I’ve heard was
were hired, and their scholarly pro- n A public relations emphasis was estab- Larson.
10 SUMMER 2009 33 J ALUMNI NEWS 11