Professor and Former Dean Reese Cleghorn Dies

Professor and Former Dean Reese Cleghorn Dies

BREAKING » Reese Cleghorn, dean of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism from 1981 to 2000, has died, his family announced. He was 78. A memorial service will be held at the Memorial Chapel on the University of Maryland campus on Thursday, March 26 at 3 p.m.

The longest sitting dean on the University of Maryland campus when he stepped down, Cleghorn was associate editor of the Detroit Free Press when he was named to the journalism position. He has helped turn the college from one of relative obscurity to one of national prominence.

Upon taking over as dean at Maryland, Cleghorn, along with the faculty and a newly established Board of Visitors, developed a five-year excellence plan called “Toward 1990: Creating a Model Professional School.” The plan spelled out ways for the journalism school to build its future and resulted in an increase in minority students, the upgrading of radio and TV broadcast facilities, a smaller but higher quality undergraduate enrollment and an expanded master’s and Ph.D. programs.

In a 1988 national assessment of journalism education by the Gannett Center for Media Studies, the College of Journalism was included in the listing of “Eleven Exemplary Journalism Schools,” described by the report’s author Jerrold Footlick as “those deserving of imitation.”

Cleghorn was instrumental in bringing the national monthly magazine American Journalism Review (then Washington Journalism Review) to the college in 1987, and and has since served as president, and then publisher of AJR.

Other notable advancements at the College of Journalism during Cleghorn’s tenure include: The National Association of Black Journalists relocated its headquarters to the campus; a student-operated wire service, Capital News Service, was launched in 1990 with bureaus in Washington, D.C. and Annapolis as part of an expanded Public Affairs Reporting Program; the creation of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the Journalism Center for Children and Families brought new professional outreach programs to the college; and fundraising successes that resulted in new endowed chairs led to the faculty appointments of former CBS-TV correspondent Lee Thornton to the Richard Eaton Chair in Broadcast Journalism and former Pulitzer-winning Washington Post journalist and editor Haynes Johnson to the Knight Chair in Journalism.

Cleghorn was named Journalism Administrator of the Year by the Freedom Forum in 1995. In announcing the award, Freedom Forum Chairman Al Neuharth said that “at a time when journalism schools have teetered on the verge of extinction at many leading universities, Maryland has not only survived but thrived under Dean Cleghorn’s leadership. His model professional school — dedicated to both scholarship and professional experience — has set the standard for journalism schools of the future.”

Cleghorn is co-author, with Pat Watters, of “Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” a book about the Civil Rights Movement and the South.

A native of Georgia, Cleghorn holds an undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta and a master’s in public law and government from Columbia University in New York. A former editorial page editor of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, he was named to the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 1996. Cleghorn is past president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.

Since his retirement from dean in 2000, Cleghorn has served as a beloved professor at the Merrill College, teaching courses in commentary and editorial writing.

There will be a private burial in Washington, D.C. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made payable to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, indicating it is for the Reese Cleghorn Scholarship Fund, and sent to 1117 Journalism Building, Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Contributions may also be made to the Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Mission Fund, 1609 East Fifth St., Charlotte, NC 28204.

Service Information

For those from outside the university attending the Reese Cleghorn Memorial Service March 26 at the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel, parking will be available in the university’s Mowatt Lane Garage on the south side of campus. If arriving from either a north or south direction via Route 1 (Baltimore Blvd.), the main road in front of the campus, turn at the light at Guilford Avenue, which eventually becomes Mowatt Lane. (An Exxon station and Plato’s Diner are at the Guilford road intersection.) The garage entrance is on your right, and a campus shuttle bus marked “Charter” will take guests to the Memorial Chapel entrance. You can locate both the garage and the Chapel at A reception will be held after the service at South Dining Hall, a short walk from the Chapel. Following the reception, the shuttle will be available outside South Dining Hall to take guests back to the parking garage. For those parked in the garage and unable to attend the reception, the shuttle will pick them up in front of the Chapel after the service and take them to the garage.

Outside Coverage
A Giant Departs – American Journalism Review
Newspaperman Led U-Md. Journalism Dept. – The Washington Post
Reese Cleghorn, Former Dean — And Editor — Dies at 78 – AP via Editor & Publisher
1970s Observer editor Reese Cleghorn dies – Charlotte Observer

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  1. Marie Elena (Ciocci) Howe
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I had the privilege of taking Reese’s editorial writing class in my senior year. The hours sitting around the table in the conference room during class were some of my favorite in my whole J-school experience. I remember when he returned our first assignment with our “new” names written on them. He said the names he gave us would make us sound more like journalists. I can’t remember what name he gave to anyone else, but I remember laughing when he said he had never, in all his years of teaching, not had to change someone’s name, until he met me. I’ll cherish the memories and lessons, always.

  2. Denise
    Posted April 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Reese, for your support and for your smile. It was a pleasure working with you. You are missed.

  3. Stephanie Cross
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I try to think of words to say to express my sorrow of knowing he’s gone… but nothing can come to mind.

    I did not become acquianted with Reese through being a student at UMD; no, instead, I was introduced to him by the chance I had come with my mother to work. I was a grade-schooler; it goes without saying then that Reese always seemed so tall to me. And his office was so big and stately, I always felt out of place coming in, me most likely dressed in a tee and jeans. But seeing Reese made my uneasiness go away, and when he said hello with that big grandfatherly-esque smile, I felt like I belonged.

    I began to think of him fondly as Uncle Reese.

    Uncle Reese was a man I must’ve seen in person only maybe a dozen or so times, which looking back on it now were very good times, but also makes me extremely sad knowing that I can’t spend more time with him. True to his teaching nature, he taught me things, and almost none of it dealt with journalism. I take that as a sign of how well-rounded he was; he could apply his techniques of teaching to any area.

    In an attempt to distract myself from being too melancholy, I am reminded of the time he sent me a large pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Christmas. I knew who gave them to me even before I opened the card. I also loved his scrawly handwriting.

    I miss you Uncle Reese. I’m sorry I never got around to try and talk or write. Please forgive me for not saying goodbye.

    If it’s not too much to ask, like you have in the past, will you continue to watch over me in the future?

    I’ll do my best to make you proud, Uncle Reese. Always and again, I’ll do my best, knowing you’ll be looking out for me too. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough for everything you’ve done. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And goodbye.

  4. Chihea Ahn
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    My deepest condolences and prayers for the Cleghorn family.

    Professor Cleghorn brought warmth and a desperately needed humor to journalism students’ lives. I will never forget his passion for journalism and faith in the human spirit. We will all miss this great master of a teacher.

  5. Tim McDonough
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be late to this string of tributes—it’s clear that Reese, like George Bailey, had a tremendously positive impact on so many lives. I had the pleasure of knowing Reese as a both a graduate assistant (’83-’86) and an employee of the College (’88-’90). He was a dedicated teacher, a caring mentor—and a Newspaperman right down to his socks. My life would have turned out much differently without Reese and his love of Journalism and higher education. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear one of his stories in my head or his voice gently telling me fix that layout, tighten my copy or “check it out.” We’ll miss you Reese—Godspeed…

  6. Rohina Phadnis
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I took his commentary and editorial writing class in Fall 2005. He made us laugh, kept us on our toes and taught us how to “turn a good phrase.” There was much wisdom woven into every class. He made us smarter reporters and better thinkers.

    I’ve kept the large binder of editorials and articles he gave us. It has his autograph scrawled across the first page — a great memento from a great teacher. I will certainly miss Dean Cleghorn.

  7. Linda Steiner
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Reese Cleghorn was indeed legendary–as a dean, as a journalist, as a teacher and mentor. I only came to Maryland two years ago, so I did not have the benefit that some others enjoyed, of a long and enduring friendship with Reese. But his intelligence and wisdom, as well as his Southern courtesy and profound “goodness” immediately struck me.

    What also struck me was his dry wit. He really had a sense of humor. I even saved some of his funny emails, including his suggestions for a new name for the Medill School at Northwestern, occasioned by the dean’s suggestion there that Medill change its name to the School for Integrated Marketing.

    here were Reese’s suggestions, and I quote:
    “…the New Integrated Medill Institute of Citizen and Professional Journalism, Seesaw Marketing, Bipolar Communications, Quicksand Eugenics, Reggae Swing and Occasional Futuristics.

    I do like School of iPods, Blackberries and Other Gadgets.

    Or, just to keep some tradition in it while being contemporary, futuristic and inclusive, Medill’s Ye Olde Preparatory Institute of Casuistics (good ole MYOPIC) . Maybe the New Medill Institute of ‘sappenin’ Soon. (“New Miss”)

    Midwestern University’s Medill Business Occilations, Journalism Undulations, Marketing Biocybernetics and Overreactions. (Good ole . . . well, you get it.)
    I’m sorry for our good friends there. Maybe we’ll have some openings.”

  8. Bob Garber
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    A lot of what I know I have learned from the papers. Tho I also learned a lot about Reese from these tributes. He was a fine journalist, teacher, dean, friend. I’d like to add he was a good friend of the library. He was not shy about helping me spend my book budget. And making sure we had the “most useful” journals. And if not, supplying his own copies to add to the collection. I’ll miss him too.

  9. Jerry Hroblak
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Reese was the one person who could and did interest me in getting involved in his dream for the Journalism School at U of Md.I remember well his desire and determination to bring a Broadcast element to the curiculum. With the help of Lee Thorton Reeese succeeded and I will always be grateful for his efforts. Reese, you will be sorely missed by many.

    Jerry Hroblak

  10. Eric Newton
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Not just Maryland but all of professional journalism stands on the shoulders of Reese and his outstanding colleagues.

  11. Michelle K. Smith
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I am very sorry to hear of Reese’s death. It doesn’t seem fair that he is no longer in the world with us.

    These wonderful tributes are such a testament to his talent, integrity, intelligence, and wisdom. Even though I hadn’t seen him in years, I thought of him often and with affection. He was the epitome of what a good journalist should be, and he instilled those qualities in all who worked with him, even though we knew we would never reach such exalted status. We tried and he was grateful for that.

    My deepest sympathy to Cheree and his children.
    Michelle K. Smith

  12. Lauren Andres
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I took Dean Cleghorn’s editorial class my senior year at Maryland. It was great. 😀 I especially liked it when he brought in some of his own work for us to use as examples. That guy had “it” in spades, and his love of language came through in every article he pounded out on a typewriter. I had an entire conversation with him about the word “canoodling.” I still have some of the material he gave our class and I have held on to pieces I wrote for him that he said I should be proud of. Cheers Reese! 😀 (Lauren, Class of 2005)

  13. Lee Thornton
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Reese brought me to the College as Eaton Chair–an endowed chair he sought and created, the first of its kind in the nation. That’s what he was–an original. He supported my work, sought my counsel, and gave me room. For that I am ever grateful. And this past year, my term as Interim Dean, I had no greater compliment than his thanks to me for the “great job” was doing. Words from a master.

  14. Jo-Ann Huff Albers
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Reese can be credited with part of the growth of journalism education at Western Kentucky University. He was the first dean whose counsel I sought before reporting to Bowling Green as new head of the WKU Department of Journalism that eventually morphed into the School of Journalism & Broadcasting. I spent most of a day with him at UMd getting his adivce on what he would and wouldn’t do in my place.
    Later I enjoyed our association (and continued getting his advice) in journalism education groups and on the William Randolph Hearst Intercolloegiate Journalism Competition advisory committee. — Jo-Ann Huff Albers 3/21/09

  15. Jon Franklin
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I can’t imagine Reese not being here in the same way I can’t imagine Abe Lincoln not sitting in his marble chair at the saner end of the mall. He was simply the guy who always knew what to do; I’m not much of a follower but after a while I found myself almost automatically following his lead.

    More than that, I think of him as the last Southern Gentleman. God knows he looked the part but he also had a way of wielding hard power with a soft hand — something I tried to learn from him but I found that very difficult. Maybe a little bit of that rubbed off on me; I hope so.

    But, like all of you, I did learn a great deal from Reese. You couldn’t not. He was a natural teacher.

    I remember one night he and Cheree came to our house for dinner. We had a new standard poodle puppy, about five months old, and . . . it wouldn’t bark. We wanted a watchdog, and so this was a problem. Suddenly Reese was going to solve this problem for us. He jumped up and walked to the middle of the room, where the puppy was sitting at attention.

    Now, puppies want to please but you’ve gotta communicate what you want them to do.

    Reese stood up straight, put a serious expression on his face, and said, “Woof.”

    Charlie looked him, perked his ears and cocked his head. You could see clearly what he was thinking: _Say what?_

    Reese lowered his voice and tried again. “Woof.

    I sat there and considered what I was seeing: a man of infinite power standing in the middle of my parlor determined to teach a dog to be a dog. He couldn’t leave a student — hell, even a puppy — untaught.

    This was a hard case, though. Reese finally sat down and we had the sorts of conversations people usually have and then ate a badly undercooked turkey. But I watched him, and I could tell. I’d see him look over at the puppy, then come back to the turkey, brows furrowed.

    “Wolf,” he’d say. “WOLF”

    Charlie watched in a respectful way but he had to wonder why people were showing such deference to this guy who ran around saying “Wolf” and yet had probably never so much as chased a squirrel in his life.

    Reese refused to give up. He tried it different ways, and when the latest way of saying “wolf” didn’t get the desired response, he thought of a new say to say it. His last word, as we parted in the doorway, was a particularly emphatic “wolf.”

    You could almost see the steam coming out of Reese’s ears. He didn’t like to fail. He didn’t like to fail with students. He didn’t even like to fail with puppy dogs. I’m sure he obsessed about it for days.

    And that is how I prefer to remember him, a man with uncompromising intellect courage and ethics, dressed in just the right suit, white hair full on his head, standing in my living room inventing two thousand ways to say “wolf” to a small black puppy.

    He was a man for all seasons, and we will all suffer for his absence.

    — jon

  16. Edward Lawrence Danielian
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Dean Cleghorn is the reason I am a reporter and fill-in anchor at the CBS station in Las Vegas. When I transfered to Maryland I applied to be in the J-school. I was denied entry because my TWSE score was one point under the requirement at the time. An Assistant Dean, at the school when I was there, refused to give me the appeal paperwork saying I would never make it through the school. After I sat outside his office for 5 hours he relented and gave me the form. He preceeded to tell me that he was one voice on the committee and he would make sure I did not get in. I had never met him and to this day do not know what his problem was. I applied and was accepted. I finished with a 3.2 (a B) GPA. Now I am in the business. What I did not know for my entire time at Maryland is how I got past that Assistant Dean. As I walked across the stage to get my diploma, I shook Dean Cleghorn’s hand. I had never met him. He pulled me in and said, “I have been watching your progress closely, Edward.” I will never forget that moment. It dawned on me that Dean Cleghorn’s influence got me into the College of Journalism three years earlier. My degree opened doors to allow me to succeed. It never would have happened without him. He was a great man. He ran a great school. He offered a complete stranger a chance to get the one of the best Journalism educations in the nation: A kid that he had no reason to help. Thank you Dean Cleghorn. You will be missed.

  17. Laurie Head Atkinson
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Dean Cleghorn was an inspiration to me — as he was to so many. For four years (1986-1990), he tailed me to ensure that I kept my Gannett scholarship (a contest that demanded annual reentry) in the way that a father presses a child to complete her homework. He mentored me, routinely recommending campus activities that would enhance my campus experience, reviewing my courses and grades with me, introducing me to the faculty and generally challenging me in my thinking about the profession. Ultimately, he recommended me for campus awards — but not after first seeing to it that I had earned those distinctions. Without him, I am not sure that I would have kept at it with such persistence, because the scholarship application process itself was so onerous. Now, of course, I am glad that I did. He encouraged me, cared about me and believed in me. I will never forget his gentle southern voice behind me in the hallway: “Laura, going to get that scholarship again next year?” I am truly grateful for his help over the years, and I will never forget him. My deepest sympathies to his family.

  18. Penny Bender Fuchs
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    After his time as dean, Reese not only continued to teach at Maryland, but he also shepherded the Maryland-Delaware-DC internship program, which bears his name. He held workshops at the start of each summer for all the student interns, whether they attended Maryland or not. He really cared about the future of journalism, about style and good writing and young journalists. He dedicated his time to them, encouraged them and gave them a gentle push from the nest. It was an honor to work with him (and intimidating to teach writing skills while he sat in the room!)

  19. Sue Kopen Katcef
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I, too, share the sorrow about Reece’s death. I got to know Reece not long after he had become dean. I had graduated a few years before from the program and found myself back involved with the College becoming an officer with the College’s fledgling Journalism Alumni Association. As such, I had a number of meetings (and programs) with Reece and was always pleased that this BROADCAST journalism major would be given so much time and opportunity with the DEAN! You see, during my years as a student in our program there were more than a few instructors who clearly thought those of us who had elected to go into radio and/or TV news were less of a journalist than those taking the more “traditional” print route. So, I was especially pleased and honored whenever Reece would introduce me at events…mentioning where I worked but emphasizing that I was a JOURNALIST, first and foremost. And that designation and acceptance meant the world to me. I later came on as adjunct broadcast journalism instructor during Reece’s time…and then, had the good fortune to be hired by Reece as a full-time instructor 10 years ago. Our broadcast side of the program has grown in ways I could never have dreamed as an undergrad. Reece had the vision to encourage it and make it happen. I will be forever grateful. My deepest sympathies to Cheree and the rest of Reece’s family.

  20. Josh Arinze
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I feel very blessed to have known Prof. Cleghorn; I was a Humphrey Fellow at the College in 1995/96. I could tell from the moment I arrived on campus (from Nigeria) in August 1995 that Dean Cleghorn cared very deeply about the Humphrey Program and took great pride in it. He was very kind to all the Fellows, and went out of his way to make sure we all derived maximum benefit from being part of the College of Journalism. My Humphrey Fellowship year was an unforgetably positive experience. Thanks for everything, Dean Cleghorn. I will always remember you, as will the many other Humphrey Fellows whose lives you touched.

  21. Yolanda Pruitt
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Reese’s imprint on the College of Journalism is indelible. His skill in taking a solid, well-respected college to another level of excellence was quite remarkable. I had graduated and returned to Maryland as a professional on the institutional advancement staff when I had the pleasure of working with Reese. His passing is a tremendous loss that is soothed by the legacy of journalistic excellence he leaves in place at Maryland.

  22. Kathleen Kelly
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    How sad to learn of Reese’s death. The world seems emptier.

    I was Reese’s associate dean for 3 & 1/2 yrs. in the mid-1980s, with primary responsibility for fudraising. We had a great time together! Although a wordsmith, his “numbers” were impressive. Citing a few from my records (in dollars that would be greater if adjusted for inflation), cash gifts received for the college increased from less than $70,000 in 1984-85 to $1.5 million in 1987-88. We raised gifts and pledges totaling $3.1 million to endow and support American (then Washington) Journalism Review, a 1987 gift valued at more than $1 million.

    Two of Reese’s traits stick out in my mind. When I was right he took my advice, and when I was wrong he repeatedly asked the same questions until I came around to his way of thinking (did someone earlier say he was stubborn?!). The second trait is that everytime we visited a newspaper, he would smile during the ride up in the elavator and gulp the air, saying to me, “Can you smell the ink?”

    Reese did love journalism, but as importantly, journalism loved Reese. His reputation opened doors and commanded respect. Donors were confident that their money in Reese’s hands would accomplish what he had promised, and, by God, he made sure it did. I thank him for allowing me to participate in fundraising as I believe it should be practiced, but rarely is. We agreed at the beginning that dollar goals had nothing to do with his vision; rather, selective parternerships would take the college to primier status. Our work together was influential in my later writings about fundraising (I left the college in May 1988 to finish my Ph.D. and then take a full-time faculty position).

    Reese used to chuckle as he reminisced that he envsioned sitting in a rocking chair on the balcony above the main entrance of the Journalism Building, thinking deep thoughts, when he left the Detroit Free Press to become an acadmic dean in 1981. Reese, I hope you are still chuckling and now enjoying that rocking chair.

    You accomplished so much and set a standard that few will surpass. Thank you for all the wisdom and support you gave me. You will be missed.

    Cheree and family, please know that my thoughts are with you, and, if all of us who wanted to could attend the memorial service next Thursday, the University of Maryland’s Chapel could not accomodate us — unlike Reese’s heart who had room for us all.

  23. Sheila Young
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I came to the college as a new fundraiser in 2005, after Reese had retired as dean, and he immediately adopted me and encouraged me. He was a lion in our profession, and i was always so pleased that he thought well of me. Reese was indefatigable about advancing the college and journalism itself. I felt so honored to know him, even for a short while. Few are left who had his passion about journalism.

  24. Yvonne Medley
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    During the last UMCP College of Journalism event I attended, Reese Cleghorn not only remembered me, but also made a special point to greet and talk with me. It meant so much because his efforts, personal support to me, and dedication, along with the College of Journalism impacted my life with a rich redirection and quality of life. I’m doing what I dreamed of doing and what I had previously thought (pre-Merrill College)was beyond my realm of life choice. May God bless and keep his family during this difficult time.

  25. Lisa Trapani
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I still apply Reese Cleghorn’s high standards to my work every day, 24 years after my graduation from the UMCP College of Journalism. ( I was lucky enough to benefit from the school’s excellence as a journalism major with a public relations concentration – before PR was separated from the school. I highly recommend anyone interested in pursuing PR as a career to major in journalism at UMCP. The insights and skills gained through the program are invaluable.

  26. Leslie Walker
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Reese Cleghorn went out of his way to educate me to the mission and culture of our J-school when I arrived last year. It was an honor to have learned from him, and the College he did so much to shape will miss him for a long, long time.

  27. Lissa Reynolds
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I am honored to have known and worked with Reese for many years at AJR. He was a wonderful person and a better boss — he (and Rem Rieder) had more confidence in me than I had in myself and I owe all of my career success to them both. Cheree, my deepest condolences. And to Reese — may the view from your porch in heaven be full of squirrels!

  28. Marlene Cimons
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I did not know Reese very well; he had already left the dean’s post when my relationship with the college (as a doctoral student and adjunct) began. But we did share one wonderful connection: a love of animals. To be sure, Reese was a great journalist and educator. But my fondest memories of him are the days when he would bring his adorable little dog to work! I would often walk past his office and marvel at what appeared to be the most well-behaved pup on the planet! (unlike my lovable but overly enthusiastic lab who would wreak havoc if I brought her anywhere.) I would always pop in, often with a dog treat from my pocket, and Reese and I would exchange dog stories. Animal-lovers represent the highest form of humanity and goodness. My deepest sympathy to his family; I am so sorry for your loss.

  29. Katrina Wyatt Odom
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Professor Cleghorn was encouraging, engaging and a true professional. He, along with many professors, made me proud to be one of the students in the College of Journalism. That was not a small feat considering that our school was not the largest on campus. My prayers are with his family. I am glad to have met him.

  30. Grace Tang
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    It seems like yesterday that I was working at the Broadcast Lab with Chet Rhodes. It seems like yesterday that I was advertising and promoting SPJ/Sigma Delta Chi by taping flyers all over the Journalism building. Was Dean Cleghorn amused or irritated when he saw the flyers plastered all over the place? He was a quiet man with heavy thoughts and a piercing stare to me. I’m proud of all his accomplishments and I’m sure he’ll be missed by those who knew him well. It just seems like yesterday . . .

  31. Chris Hanson
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Reese did an enormous amount for journalism education after contributing a great deal in the field itself, especially as a strong backer of civil rights on editorial pages in the South. He was shrewd and hard-nosed, knew how to prevail in university politics, and put this journalism college on the map.

    I will always be grateful for Reese’s help as I made the transition from journalist to teacher, and was touched when he invited me to join his family for Christmas after my first rather bumpy semester. Reese gave me useful advice, most recently just a few weeks ago, and I will miss our chats about politics and Civil War history. This is a sad day for the College. Chris Hanson

  32. Ivan Penn
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m thankful to have enjoyed relationship with Dean Cleghorn. Through my years as an undergraduate, editor of The Diamondback and board member at Maryland Media for a decade, Reese always served as a thoughtful support and inspiration. I won’t forget you.

  33. John Carrol
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Reese leaves a rich legacy as a journalist, teacher and leader. It was during the Cleghorn years that the University of Maryland became highly respected for the education it offered the aspiring journalist. Personally, he will remembered for integrity and abiding friendships. He touched the lives of many — always a gentleman.

  34. Bryce Nelson--USC
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Reese is enormously respected among journalists and journalism teachers around the country. His work as a brilliant hirer of outstanding journalists for his faculty and as a wise publisher and writer for the American Journalism Review would alone be enough for a great legacy but he did much, much more. Reese was an honest, straightforward, fair-minded gentleman. He was a very good friend to many.

  35. Mi-Ai Parrish
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    My deepest sympathies to Dean Cleghorn’s passing. He was a kind and thoughtful person, who took the time to encourage me as an undergraduate. Over the years, he made the effort to congratulate me as I moved along in my career. He was a true gentleman and will be missed.

  36. Floyd McKay
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    One of Reese’s great strengths was to honor practitioners in teaching. When I was ready to make the move from journalism to teaching after nearly 30 years in the craft, Reese made it possible and I completed my M.A. in record time thanks to his support, both at U-M and in my job search. He really was the epitome of a professional journalist who kept those values alive in the world of academe, too often caught up in theory. Reese was an inspiration to me and others making the move from newsroom to classroom in mid-life. We were blessed.

  37. Rachel Pancik Querry
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    While I did not know Dean Cleghorn personally, the tributes posted here by my former teachers are a testimony to his influence on the college and everyone who had the good fortune to graduate from this fine program. My education at Maryland has served me well in my 16 years (and counting) in communications. My thoughts are with Dean Cleghorn’s family and the entire UMCP College of Journalism family.

  38. Susan Moeller
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Reese was an unfailingly formidable (if always gracious) force championing both journalism and journalism education. He saw the two as inextricably linked–to the tremendous benefit of both the profession and the university. I cherish the years that I shared the College’s hallways with him, and belatedly would like to thank him and his wife for his support of me and for their reaching out to my family.

  39. Priyanka Matanhelia
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I first became Prof. Cleghorn’s assistant in Fall 2005 and since then I worked with him until he retired. I always admired him for his spirit and dedication to journalism education. I learnt a lot while working for him as his assistant. He was a true leader and his strong determination to keep going despite his health issues was always inspiring. It was a delight to listen to his stories through which I learnt about the history of America especially civil war. If it was not for his stories, I would never have realized what a great country America is.
    He was a great writer and teacher from whom I learnt how important it is to not miss details yet capture the big picture. He made writing sound like a piece of art and not just a chore. If I have learnt how to write well it is truly because of working for him. Above all he was one of the kindest souls I have ever met in his life. He was a tough but very compassionate person. I will deeply miss him. I will always remember those summer afternoons at his residence when he made lunch and told me endless stories about his life. I offer my condolences to Mrs. Cleghorn who I got to meet and know while working at his residence. Priyanka Matanhelia

  40. Tomas Linn
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    As a Humphrey Fellow (1995-1996) I developed a very nice friendship with Reese. He was wise and understanding and a real gentleman. Once I finished the fellowship and went back home, we we were in touch through e-mails and as I had the good fortune to return to the US often, I would visit him at the Maryland campus and would have long talks with him. He had stepped down as dean but was teaching courses on editorial and column writing, and being a columnist myself, we used to exchange ideas and he regretted he could not read in Spanish, which is the language in which my pieces are written. The last time I saw him was in June 2008, but I particularly remember him in 2007 when my daughter, a Fulbrighter at the same College, walked for her graduation and there he was, with his silver-gray robe, looking like a real sage. People like him are very rare and it was a privilege for me to have met him.

  41. Alex Baldinger
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Sitting around that large wooden table in the College of Journalism’s first-floor conference room with Professor Cleghorn remains one of my fondest memories of J school. He will be sorely missed.

  42. Joanne Radice
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I am saddened by Dean Cleghorn’s passing – he was still young enough to help and ingluence many new J students and devotees of media studies. While I only met him once- in my senior year- in that brief meeting he gave me such a positive outlook and such a storng sense of worth for my soon-to-be new degree… I have never forgotten that conversation! May God bless him and his family.
    Joanne Radice

  43. Robin
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I started Maryland the same year Dean Cleghorn began his tenure. Back then, the campus was enormous… 42,000 students were enrolled (29,000 of them were commuters). It was very hard for a freshman to get any of the classes you wanted (upper classmen and athletes got first dibs and classes filled up quickly leaving me to waste a lot of time on classes I didn’t want or need). By the end of sophomore year, I wasn’t doing well at Maryland, primarily because I was bored. A TA told me that perhaps J School wasn’t the place for me, but I pointed out that we’d never know since classes were always filled and I hadn’t been able to take even one journalism class to date. The TA spoke to Dean Cleghorn and wouldn’t you know…. I got enrolled in and began exceling in my journalism classes. I went on to write and work for Entrepreneur magazine and Orange Coast magazine (So. Cal) and am a contributing author to my association magazine today in great part because Dean Cleghorn stepped in on my behalf. Thank you. You will be missed.

  44. Maggie McGuire
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    We made a Facebook group in College: Reese Cleghorn Is Over the Top! I’ll remember Professor Cleghorn as a journalist I really respected and one of the most fun teachers I ever had. I always looked forward to his class, and not only because he flung candy at us across the conference table. I feel honored to have studied with him.

  45. Amrit Dhillon
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Dean Cleghorn was the dean when I graduated from the J-School and we had little interaction. But nearly 8 years later when I finally returned to print journalism, he was kind enough to take time one afternoon to talk to me about the possibilities I had. I will always appreciate that sound advice.

  46. Ed Williams
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I met Reese in the late 1960s at a conference of Southern progressives at Quail Roost, N.C. I was working for Hodding Carter’s Delta Democrat-Times and co-editing an iconoclastic monthly called Mississippi Freelance and he was editing publications for the Southern Regional Council, including South Today. I was immediately taken by his intelligence and passion and capacity for delight — in a good drink, a lively conversation, a piercing investigation, a well-crafted phrase. It seemed to me we both, like Scaramouche, were born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.

    I wrote a few pieces for him, including reports on the shootings at Jackson State and the Mississippi legislature’s farcical debate over whether the state’s students should be shielded from the theories of Darwin. He offered me a job at the SRC that would paid even less than the DD-T did, so we didn’t get together then, but a few years later, after he had moved to Charlotte, he agreed to recommend me for a Nieman fellowship on the condition (not meant to be enforceable) that I’d come to the Observer after a year at Harvard. As it turned out I did, and quickly formed a lasting relationship with as good a friend and teacher as anyone could imagine.

    In the pre-computer days of the early 1970s, Reese — the elegant stylist — would sit in office, puffing his pipe, cheerfully editing his writers’ submissions not just with a copy pencil but with long scissors and a glue pot. One fledgling editorialist sometimes tended to be long on analysis and short on conclusions, so Reese made a rubber stamp saying “It ought not to be so!” so he could append it to an editorial that lacked a conclusion.

    When I retired as editorial page editor of The Charlotte Observer last October, I recalled in a column that three men had made me want to be a journalist and showed me how to be one: Hodding Carter III, Rolfe Neill and Reese Cleghorn. No one could hope for better examples.

    We last saw Reese last summer, when we were in Washington visiting our son, Jonathan, a Duke law student who was interning at Williams & Connolly. The air conditioning in Jonathan’s sublet apartment had conked out, and when the management proved unable to fix it quickly the Cleghorns insisted that this young man they barely knew room with them for the last couple of weeks of his internship. Such spontaneous hospitality might seem uncommon for most people, but for the Cleghorns it was simply one more example of the generosity they showered upon their friends.

    I know that as we get on in years we tend to look back and conclude that in the old days there were giants in the land, but this I know for sure: In the old days in journalism in the South, indeed there were a few giants, and Reese Cleghorn was one of them.

    –Ed Williams

  47. Jay P. Goldman
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    As an evening-hours adjunct at the college for 20 years now, I’ve never felt like a second-class faculty citizen, owing in substantial part to the personal interest that Reese routinely shared. He never missed an opportunity to greet me in the hallway or faculty mailroom and ask in the most genuine way how things were faring. It was truly an honor and a privilege to know Reese.

  48. Chris Harvey
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I am deeply saddened by this news. Reese transformed this college, just as he transformed many of our lives. A true Southern gentleman, he could also be tough when he had to be. But I’ll chiefly remember him for his steadfast support for stellar journalism, his deep interest in the well-being of this faculty and its students, and his love of wordsmithing. Many of the columns he wrote for American Journalism Review were quirky little gems. My heart goes out to his family.

  49. Matt Neufeld
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Reese Cleghorn led one of the area’s great journalism schools in a dignified, studious and excellent manner that brought national attention to the school, to him, to students, faculty and staff, to the University of Maryland, to journalism in general, and to the quality stories and features that the school’s students produced through the years. He has had a great influence on hundreds, if not thousands, of people, of course, and he will be long-remembered, always honored, and greatly missed.

  50. Ted Gup
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Reese was at home in the shower one Sunday morning when I called out of the blue and asked about a job. He didn’t know me from Adam and by all rights should have chastised me for disturbing his Sunday morning at home. Instead he was courtly and kind and reached out to me in a way that I can not forget. He was a good guy, a consummate gentleman. I worked for him just one year as a visiting prof but in that short time he demonstrated the power of grace, good manners, humor, and an unflinching belief that journalists can leave this world a better place. He most certainly did just that.

  51. Meg McCully Neill
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Reese was a great champion of the Humphrey Fellows, and of me. After the first year of the program, where I’d served as grad assistant, he was disappointed that (he thought) I didn’t want to accept the College’s offer to be manager. When I told him that I’d love to do it but couldn’t afford to take it, as it was a part-time job, you could see the wheels turning in his head. Soon he cooked up another gig for me so that I would have a full-time salary, and I was so blessed to have remained for another five years. Whenever he wanted to brag on the program (which was often), he would turn to me and ask, “how many is it, Meg?” and I’d be ready with “42 Fellows from 35 countries” or whatever the current numbers were. He loved the Fellows and they returned the affection.

    Reese was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed.

  52. Bill Kovarik
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I had the honor of working as a personal assistant / file clerk the first semester I was at Maryland as a PhD student in the fall of 1987. It was a glorious job in a way, because amid all the office work and conference scheduling and so on, we talked many times, and he encouraged my love of history and my resistance to academic pressures toward social science and quantitative methodologies.

    During that time I read a good bit of his work, showed him some of mine, and talked about the McGill “mafia” — the folks we all admired from the glory days of Southern journalism — Ralph McGill of course but also the Daniels family, the Ethridges, Bill Emerson, Claude Sitton, and many others who did so much to make the South a better place in the 1950s and 60s. We can all be grateful that they framed the biggest story of their times as a “Civil Rights Movement” and not a “race war.”

    My understanding of that group was greatly enlarged by Cleghorn’s essay, “My Grandfather and the Cyclone.” It’s about a man whose world seemingly falls apart all around him, yet it was only the trappings of a world. The reality of the man’s integrity and courage became so much more obvious without the trappings. My grandfather was like that too. And in so many ways, journalism was the kind of life that pulled those trappings away, and showed people as they were. Sometimes, what that revealed was someone as special as Reese Cleghorn.

    When I graduated in a PhD ceremony in the early 90s, I wanted the traditional picture with Reese in front of the Testudo sculpture at the library. We had all come from the ceremony, and he was talking with someone who looked sort of familiar. Still, I didnt care — Reese was the important one, and I shoe’ed the other fellow away. I got my picture with Reese, and Gene Roberts, then editor at the New York Times, stood aside, with, I must say, something of an admiring smile for Reese on his face.

  53. Adam Littlefield
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I will always owe Dean Cleghorn a huge debt and will never forget him. His advice during my time at UMD was an important catalyst to what I have accomplished so far in my career. My sincerest condolences to his loved ones. We definitely lost a legend.

  54. Kathy McAdams
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Like so many of us, I owe Reese a great deal and then some. Some magic must have kept him from throwing away my resume in 1987. He opened many doors for me and for women in journalism by supporting the research on gender that happened early in our College. He lived his principles. He stood up for me several times, and it made all the difference. My deepest condolences to Cheree and the family, who will feel the absence of his larger-than-life presence every day from now on.

    Kathy McAdams

  55. Chet Rhodes
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Reese was a wonderful person and made a huge difference in my life. I will never forget how as much as he loved that manual typewriter he made us all switch to email for all college memos.. and this was BEFORE the internet was even in our building. I will miss you Reese.

  56. Frank Quine
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I had a magnificent and memorable 12 years of working closely with Reese while he was dean (he hired me in 1988). We partnered on many successful fundraising proposals (he always knew what the right “ask” should be); we succeeded despite adverse conditions at times (Reese’s favorite phrase when confronted with an obstacle was “Block that punt!!”); and I was proud to help in a small way to execute his many visionary initiatives. I had several great newspaper bosses in
    my day, but Reese was hands-down the best. I’ll cherish the two-hour visit I had with him at his home in January.

  57. Maria Douglas Reeve
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m deeply saddened. I met Reese when I was a student in the grad school in 91-92, the first Knight Ridder Minority fellowship recipient. One of my fondest memories happened outside the classroom. He came drinking with a group of us in D.C. The cab driver must’ve been amused to see that silver fox with those two young women! He bought a round and shared stories with us. It was a memorable evening. That night he earned the nickname “Reese Baby.” Here’s to you, Reese Baby.

  58. //Carl Stepp
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Reese changed my life — multiple times. He was that rare rare bird: a person of exceptional vision with a copyeditor’s eye for every detail. A true force of nature. A compassionate and generous human being. And a blast to be around.

  59. Lisa Shepard
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I am grateful to Reese for all his support for the many years I wrote for AJR. I owe much of my success to AJR and the Masters degree I received from Maryland.

    Reese was both a gentleman and a leader, and played such a key role in making UMD’s journalism program the high-quality school that it is today. My best to his family, and especially to the lovely Cheri.

  60. kevin klose
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Reese was a beacon for me, shining light on the past, present, and future of the College. What better guide than this gentlemanly, determined, thoughtful, creative and practical idealist! It is a deep blow he will not be with us as we work to ensure that news and research professionals of tomorrow embrace his profound commitment to serving democracy with skeptical, accurate, independent journalism and analysis. Our condolences to his family. – kevin klose

  61. Kathleen Cullinan
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Reese Cleghorn agreed to let me write a profile of him for another course when I was a student there in the fall of 2004. Perhaps never before has a subject so totally, and so patiently, taught a reporter how it’s done: Reese had me sit in on his editorial-writing class; he filled my bag with his clips; he let me interview him for hours at school and at his home. My little micro-cassette recorder was filled end to end with his newsroom stories. I have a strong memory that at one point in life he set everything aside and went out west to start up a little community paper from scratch — from that I realized how much joy one can derive from risk and innovation.
    Getting to know Reese was a great honor; I’m sure the profile didn’t capture a fraction of it. My thoughts are with his family.

  62. Lucinda Fleeson
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Reese cooked up the idea of bringing the Humphrey Fellowship Program to the journalism college, and loved looking in on it, fostering and mentoring Fellows. One Christmas he and Cheri hosted about six of them for Christmas dinner. He was a great supporter and eternally enthusiastic.
    We’ll miss him.
    Lucinda Fleeson

  63. Sonny Goldreich
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    The J-school went through major advances while Reese Cleghorn was dean and you can see that in the hundreds of its graduates doing significant work today. He was a serious old-school journalist who had a lot of pull in the industry. Enough so that I was working at the Baltimore Sun in my first job 2 weeks out of Maryland simply because he gave me the right name to call when he stopped me in the hall one day and asked what my plans were after graduation (i never did graduate. still have 2 incompletes).

  64. Meg Brewer
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who worked at the College during Reese’s tenure knows what a wonderful person he was. His love for the craft and for his students will be remembered. Our prayers are with his wife and family.

  65. Manny
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Reese was the Dean of Journalism when I was accepted to the program. He was always around to offer advice, insight and a helping hand. We will miss you Reese. The world of journalism will miss you.

  66. Maurine Beasley
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I worked under Reese for the entire period of his deanship and consider him the most memorable personality I ever encountered. If I had to name only one of his many outstanding qualities including his excellent writing ability,it would be his passionate love of journalism as a public service that could change society for the better. He truly believed in his profession and wanted to inspire young people to enter it and dedicate themselves to the common good. Reese built our college, and we remain indebted to him for our reputation. His encouragement as a dean and support for my research allowed me to pursue scholarship in women and media when that was looked down on in many academic circles. Reese had character and commitment. I owe him a lot. An institution in his own right, he left an institution that serves as his memorial.We will not see his like again. My sympathy to his wife and family. What a loss! Maurine Beasley

  67. Adrianne
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    What words can convey to one of the world’s great wordsmiths the tremendous void his passing leaves? Reese changed my life. He believed I could teach what I knew, when I was nearly sure I could not. I thank him every day for that and wish him Godspeed in his latest grand adventure.

  68. Douglas Gomery
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Reese did a lot for me. He embraced me and the late Marjorie Ferguson into the College when times were bad. He gave me a chance to write for AJR. And he accepted my scholarship and encouraged it. My 20 books honor this acceptance of an economist and historian. Looking back, it was a great run indeed.


  69. Shirley Sisk
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Reese, I will miss you. We had a good run.
    I love you,

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