For nearly 40 years, the McGill Lecture has brought significant figures in journalism to the University of Georgia to help us honor Ralph McGill's courage as an editor.

The first McGill Lecture was delivered in 1979 by Eugene Patterson, then executive editor of the St. Petersburg Times.

In between, 36 reporters, editors, columnists and publishers - such figures as Jack Nelson, Geneva Overholser, Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Katharine Graham - have joined us in Athens as McGill Lecturers.

What they share with McGill is a deep sense of courage - in the words they wrote, in the stories they pursued and brought to their front pages, and in refusing to be intimidated by powerful interests.

Our students and faculty are inspired by their example.