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Guy Dean McGrath: education visionary who loved students


July 28, 2011

When ASU President Grady Gammage asked Guy D. McGrath to leave his job at the University of Illinois and head ASU's education college, McGrath hesitated. He had a good job there – he was second in command of Illinois’ education department – and he knew that several current ASU faculty had their eye on the number one job.

But Gammage persuaded him to come, and McGrath later recalled that he made “several sweeping changes in organization and curricula, with Dr. Gammage’s support.” Download Full Image

Guy Dean McGrath, who is remembered as founding dean of ASU’s “modern” College of Education, passed away July 27, in Tempe. He was 97.

McGrath was born and raised on a farm in Lamar, Colo. He earned his undergraduate degree from Findlay (Ohio) College in 1934, where he met and married Zoe Bishop. McGrath completed his master’s degree at the University of Michigan, and in 1936 he and Zoe moved to Colorado, where he taught science at Lamar Junior College and then chemistry and sciences at Boulder High School.

During World War II, McGrath taught physics to Army air cadets in La Grande, Ore., before returning to Boulder as assistant superintendent of the Boulder Public School System. He earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1946.

According to a biography of McGrath by Roy P. Doyle, who served as associate dean in his administration, those words describing “several sweeping changes in organization and curricula” that McGrath talked about were modestly spoken.

Doyle wrote, “During his 30-year tenure at ASU, 17 years as the administrative head of professional education, Dean McGrath carried many leadership roles embracing a wide spectrum of innovation and challenge.

“In addition to the strong, insightful influence which he provided the College of Education on this campus, he had a significant impact on teacher education at the national level and influenced the course of public education in Arizona in a variety of constructive ways.”

Doyle continued: “Dean McGrath was a leading force in the professional movement which reshaped teacher education in the post World War II period. He exerted his leadership through a variety of national associations. His impact on teacher education at the national level was also felt through his professional writing, research, consultative work with other universities and government agencies, and active participation in institutional accreditation.”

Under McGrath’s leadership, the mission of the ASU College of Education broadened to include emphasis on research and graduate study designed to prepare a wide range of practitioners in the field of education. ASU’s first doctoral program was developed in the College of Education under his supervision.

In 2002, the College of Education, with support from Phi Delta Kappa and the College of Education Alumni Chapter, created the McGrath Lecture Series to honor Dean for his visionary leadership and 70-year commitment to the field of education.

But McGrath’s commitment to the field of education went beyond programs and degrees. Doyle said, “One of his special gifts was his ability to help each to find and perfect his or her own professional niche. He accomplished this with the sensitivity and skill that is the mark of extraordinary leadership.

“Though he retired in 1980, hundreds of former faculty and student protégés scattered throughout the schools and universities of this country provide testimony to his continued influence on American education.”

McGrath is survived by his wife Zoe, their son, Larry, and his wife, Jane; their daughter, Linda McGrath Wiggs, and her husband, Richard; their grandchildren, Brian Wiggs and Jennifer Wiggs Yandell, and her husband, Scott; and their great-grandchildren, Dillan and Kate Yandell.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Hospice of the Valley.

Cronkite students, faculty receive prestigious honors


July 29, 2011

Students and faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University are the recipients of a string of recent awards honoring their work in radio, television, multimedia and entrepreneurship.

The awards, which include both regional and national honors, include: Download Full Image

Associated Press Television-Radio Association Mark Twain Awards

Recent graduate Colton Shone won two Mark Twain Awards from the television-radio association. One was for “Best Use of Sound” in the serious or hard news category for a story about a protest during an Al Sharpton march in Phoenix. The other was for “Best Radio Light Feature” for coverage of a Valley restaurant offering rabbit on its holiday menu. Both pieces were produced for KTAR-FM.

Last year, Shone won an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most prestigious honors in professional broadcast journalism, for a story he reported and produced for KTAR. The same story was later recognized with a 2010 Mark Twain Award in the Best Use of Sound-Feature category. This year, he was part of the KTAR news team that won a Murrow for Overall Excellence. The station’s submission included three long-form pieces done by Shone including the two that won Mark Twain Awards.  

College Television Awards

Two students won second place in the Newscast category of the College Television Awards, a contest of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation that honors the best student-produced work in video, digital and film production.

The awards were given at a gala in Los Angeles, where recent Cronkite graduate Christy Little and student McKenzie Manning were honored as producers.

Little was a student in NewsWatch, the school’s four-night-a-week newscast that airs on PBS, and Manning will be in fall 2011.

The two received trophies and a $1,000 prize.

"When they started playing clips from the winning pieces, I could not believe we were at a college awards show,” Little said. “The caliber of talent in that room was on a par with the celebrity presenters taking to the stage. And the Cronkite School was right in the mix, representing with the best of them.”

Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition

Another Cronkite student, senior Dan Neligh, was one of nine winners of the 2010 Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition. The award is given in memory of the memory of journalist Roy W. Howard, known for leading Scripps Howard Newspapers from 1922 to 1953. The winners were chosen for the quality of their journalism entries, an essay and letters of recommendation. They receive a two-week guided study tour to an area of Japan of significance to Howard, this year in the Kansai region cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, which are removed from the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Horizon Interactive Awards

A project by the 2009 graduate boot-camp students, entitled Streets of Dreams, won a bronze prize in an international contest, the Horizon Interactive Awards in the university/website category. Previously, the project tied for first place in the Team Innovation category of the AEJMC online awards recognizing Web design. It also won a third-place Society of Professional Journalists award for online depth reporting.

Best of the West College Journalism Contest

Students of State Press, the campus daily newspaper, won first place in three out of four categories in the annual Best of the West College Journalism Contest. The publication won first place for general reporting and multimedia reporting. Junior Shanna Wester won first place in feature writing for her story, “Does ASU Have a Porn Problem,” and senior Nathan Meacham won second place in sports reporting for “Robles Provides Inspiration on and off Mat.”

Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative

Two others were awarded $10,000 by ASU’s 2011-2012 Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative to launch a venture they developed in the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. Cronkite senior Nick Gnat and graduate Ryan Campbell conceived a venture, Qayto, that draws on the Kinect 3D motion controller device that watches and reacts to how users move in real space to make real-time group therapy possible virtually and anonymously.

Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism

Cronkite faculty associate Christina Boomer won a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism from USC’s Annenberg School for Individual Achievement at a Local Station. The honor was given for her “genuine public service reporting” at KNXV-ABC15, reporting she produces as a multimedia journalist, with an eye toward participatory journalism utilizing social media. 

Boomer, who teaches online media, said she was both “thrilled and honored” to be recognized with the achievement.

“It is especially wonderful to be recognized for the work I am doing as a multimedia journalist,” Boomer said. “I feel blessed that at ABC15 I have gained a new skill set that the industry will demand from journalists moving forward. I am also grateful to ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism for providing me the opportunity to teach what I am learning in the field to my students. I take much joy knowing that I am helping students gain the skills they will need to survive and thrive in the industry.”

Reuters Scoop of the Year Award

Alumnus and former faculty associate Lidia Kelly, now a journalist for Reuters covering economics in Russia, also was honored recently. She won a Reuters Scoop of the Year Award for her coverage of Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s unexpected death in a plane crash in April 2010.

Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Award

Faculty associate John Dille, CEO of Federated Media who teaches business and future of journalism also was honored as a broadcaster, as a recipient of the Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Award. The awards, underwritten by the Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation and the McCormick Foundation, are given in honor of radio and television broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.

“Broadcasting is all about people,” Dille said. “The Broadcasters Foundation is about helping people. Peer recognition can be sweet and this surely is.”

Campus Environment Team Excellence in Diversity Awards

Retha Hill, director of the Cronkite School’s New Media Innovation Lab, is the recipient of the 2011 Campus Environment Team Excellence in Diversity Awards for ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus.  

Other Recognitions & Honors

In addition to these recognitions, Cronkite students under the direction of Carnegie Professor Rick Rodriguez have developed a website featuring multiple articles exploring issues Latino males face. The project was done in conjunction with the Young Latino Male Symposium held at ASU last year on behalf of ASU’s Center for Community Development and Civil Rights.  The event was funded by a grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation and moderated by Rodriguez. It brought together 10 master’s students of the Cronkite School and 35 nationwide experts on Latino male issues.

Cronkite graduate Maura Gaughan produced footage that aired nationally as part of a PBS Special. Her “Lightworks” coverage, done in conjunction with Planet Forward, was selected as one of seven clips from nearly 1,000 submissions to be finalists in a national one-hour PBS Earth Day special that aired April 8. Gaughan’s video featured the award-winning cyanobacteria research of Wim Vermaas, a professor at ASU’s School of Life Sciences and Center for Bioenergy & Photosynthesis.

Arizona PBS aired the work of three Cronkite documentary students: senior Gardenia Coleman and recent graduates Mallory Kydd and Nick Blumberg. The documentary they co-produced, “The Keepers,” was accepted for air on KAET/Eight, Arizona’s PBS station. It aired on Thursday, June 2, at 4:30 p.m. on channel 8.3. The documentary project was undertaken as part of a Cronkite class in documentary production and went behind the scenes exploring the daily lives of zookeepers at the Phoenix Zoo. PHX11 also aired the documentary as part of their May programming.

Reporter , ASU Now

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