Maureen Clayton: Say ‘yes’ to new experiences

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, this is one of a series of profiles highlighting just a few of the impressive accomplishments alumnae of Grady College are making in their respective industries. For other profiles, please visit any of those listed below:

Becca Hannan

Carole Munroe

Maureen Clayton (ABJ ’80, MA ’84)) is the founder and president of Insight Strategic Communications and Nest Egg Communications. She is a four-time Bulldog 100 winner. Clayton also won the 2017 UGA Graduate School Alumni of Distinction for achieving exceptional success in her professional career and service to her community. Additionally, Clayton is a UGA Student Mentor and a UGA Libraries Board of Visitors member.

Grady College: How has your Grady education helped you in your career?

Maureen Clayton: I learned to write for business at Grady.  As a student, I had some crazy notion that flowery, adjective-dripping prose was good writing. My professors taught me the value of writing that is simple, focused and concise.  That’s helped me in every role I’ve ever had.

GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as a female leader?

MC: You learn more from your failures than your successes.  No one wants to screw up, but when you do, own it, put in a process to address it, and move forward.  Resilience matters.  Like Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

“No one wants to screw up, but when you do, own it, put in a process to address it, and move forward. Resilience matters.”

–Maureen Clayton

GC: Have there been any challenges to being a female leader in your field? How do you overcome those challenges?

MC: Every leader has challenges.  I don’t view leadership through a male/female lens. I think attitude is at the heart of anyone’s success. My first management role was at a $5 billion electric utility where I was one of three women leaders and the youngest executive in the company.  There were many meetings when I was asked who was watching my children or would I bring in the coffee. I just responded with humor and said “I’d love an iced tea, if you’re getting up.”  Stuff like that never derailed me. Don’t make the small stuff big stuff. Never take your focus off the priorities.

GC: Do you have any advice for Grady students who aspire to be in a leadership position?

MC: Say yes to new experiences in every area of your life.  Don’t be concerned if your career ladder becomes a jungle gym.  It’s seldom a straight line to success. Many of the students I mentor are concerned that when they get out of school, the perfect job won’t be waiting.  Often it won’t. But your skills will be transferrable to a role that will take you your next role.  I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but that’s how my career turned out.  If you’re a lifelong learner, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that arise.

GC: Are there any other comments you care to share about Grady College or women in leadership?

MC: I have fond memories of Dr. Lee Wenthe, the only female professor I had at Grady.  There were just a few female professors. That has changed since I graduated. She was a role model for me—very cool woman.

I think women maybe more likely to value mentorship in the workplace. Many of my clients are female executives at large, global companies. Each of them is committed to mentoring early career colleagues.  My advice for Grady students is to connect, network, and interact with alumni now, before you graduate.  They’ll help you transition to your next chapter.

Carole Munroe: Think about all women, not just those who may look like you

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, this is one of a series of profiles highlighting just a few of the impressive accomplishments alumnae of Grady College are making in their respective industries. For other profiles, please visit any of those listed below:

            Maureen Clayton

            Becca Hannan

Carole Munroe is a Senior Director of Brand Communications at Hilton Worldwide. Before that, Munroe worked at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts as a Director of Content Relations. She collaborated with LucasFilm on the reintroduction of the Star Wars movie franchise in Disney Parks and leading up to and the opening of Star Wars Land and with James Cameron and Jon Landau on the premiere of Pandora, which is The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Currently, Monroe serves on the Grady Society Alumni Board. Among her accolades, Munroe was awarded the 2015 Pat Tobin Media Professional Award which is the NABJ’s highest award to a public relations professional.

Grady College: How has your Grady education helped you in your career?

Carole Munroe: My Grady education has been an ongoing part of my success as a journalist, publicist and marketing professional. These professions converge around capabilities of storytelling, information distribution and strategic thinking, all of which I learned at Grady and continue to excel as a result of having such a strong foundation.

GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as a female leader?

CM: “To thine own self be true.” I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin. Remember, ‘there will never be another you’ and that’s for a reason — because each of us has our own unique gifts to contribute. I’ve also learned the power of team work and diversity.  Team work is about everyone having a key role based on their strengths. It’s better to let others thrive by their strengths rather than dilute the results by trying to do it all oneself. I have been more successful developing and working with cohesive teams than individually.

“Team work is about everyone having a key role based on their strengths. It’s better to let others thrive by their strengths rather than dilute the results by trying to do it all oneself.”

–Carole Munroe

GC: Have there been any challenges to being a female leader in your field? How do you overcome those challenges?

CM: Yes, there have been lots of challenges! As a female leader who is also African American, I’ve had the challenge of having people judge me before seeing me or getting to know me. This can happen while even applying for a job, and it can be very subtle! Women and men have to be on the lookout for this kind of shortsightedness and subtle bigotry, because people like that do not make good leaders and, in the long run, have limited success.

GC: Any advice for Grady students who aspire to be in a leadership position?

CM: When you are in a leadership role, remember it is a servant’s role. You are there to serve, to inspire, and to help your people grow. If you do these things your team will work hard and will help you succeed because they believe in you.

GC: Are there any other comments you care to share about Grady College or women in leadership?

CM: On International Women’s Day, I want to encourage all women to think about ALL women, not just those who may look like you.  Think “Sisters in Leadership.” As women, no matter our color, we have great things in common. However, I think we also have biases that keep us from experiencing all the strength that women in leadership can bring to bear. So, be a sister to the woman who might be having a harder time than you because she’s also dealing with race, size, sexual or male chauvinist bigotry, or she just might be really shy or socially awkward. She just might be the smartest person in the room, so don’t count her out and be sure to include her.

UGA Grady College announces recipients of 2018 Alumni Awards; Sanford Circle honoree

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is pleased to honor four outstanding graduates with its 2018 Alumni Awards, and a beloved Grady College professor who will be inducted into the Sanford Circle.

Sally Yates (ABJ ’82, JD ‘86) receives the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award; Ashley Huston (ABJ ’96) is honored with the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award; Polina Marinova (ABJ ’13) is awarded the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award; and Jisu Huh (MA ’00, PhD ‘03) receives the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

Barry Hollander, a professor of journalism who died in January, will be inducted into the Sanford Circle, a posthumous membership created to honor friends of Grady College whose achievement and generosity of spirit remain with the college.

All award recipients will be recognized along with the 2018 Grady Fellowship inductees, at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 27, 2018.

Sally Yates is a distinguished lecturer at Georgetown Law School. Yates is a former deputy attorney general of the United States. President Barack Obama nominated Yates to be the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, where she was the first woman to hold the position in the Northern District of Georgia. During her time as U.S. Attorney, Yates was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. She was nominated for John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and won the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award during the Detroit NAACP’s 62nd Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner. She graduated from the public relations program at Grady College, and earned her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. As the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Yates also will be inducted into the Grady Fellowship.

Ashley Huston most recently served as the chief communications officer for the Dow Jones Company and The Wall Street Journal. Huston is a strategic communications executive with extensive experience working with dynamic global media, sports and news brands. She has also held roles at CNN, ESPN and News Corp. Huston began her career as a student assistant in the University of Georgia’s Sports Communications office. She graduated with a degree in public relations from Grady College.

Polina Marinova is an associate editor at Fortune Magazine where she is the author of Term Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter. Before the Term Sheet, Marinova was an audience engagement editor at Fortune, managing all of Fortune’s social media accounts and crafting social campaigns around Fortune franchises. She is a journalism graduate of Grady College.

Jisu Huh is the Raymond O. Mithun Endowed Chair in Advertising and Director of Graduate Studies at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Huh’s research program covers a wide range of topics related to advertising and its effects, especially in the digital and social media contexts. Huh is immediate past president of the American Academy of Advertising and also serves as an associate editor for Journal of Advertising. Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of several journals in the field of advertising, including International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, and Journal of Advertising Education. She is an elected member and chair of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Standing Committee on Research. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from Grady College.

Barry Hollander
Barry Hollander

The Sanford Circle honoree, Barry Hollander, taught the fundamentals of journalism to countless students throughout his 26 years at Grady College. He was known for his wit, his attention to facts, his social media comments and his fierce loyalty to his students, many of whom he stayed in touch with through their successes after graduation.

Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership will be held at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel. Tickets can be ordered by visiting the Grady Salutes reservation website.

Grady College alumnus and UGA Emeritus Trustee Claude Williams Jr. remembered

Claude Williams Jr., a friend to Grady College, to the University of Georgia and to the Athens community, passed away Jan. 20, 2018.

Claude Williams (left, in an undated picture) was joined by other members of the staff of the Athens Daily News, including Lewis Grizzard (M ’84), Glenn Vaughn (M ’53) and Mark Smith (ABJ ’66).
Claude Williams (left, in an undated picture) was joined by other members of the staff of the Athens Daily News, including Lewis Grizzard (M ’84),
Glenn Vaughn (M ’53) and Mark Smith (ABJ ’66).

“Claude Williams was a Grady icon, a man of substance who made huge contributions to journalism, to civic life in Athens, and to the society as a whole through his many good works,” Charles Davis, dean of Grady College, said. “His gentle spirit and kindness to all who knew him will form his legacy. He was quite simply one of the nicest, most supportive people, and always asked how he could help the college.”

Williams, who earned his journalism degree from Grady College in 1948, was passionate about journalism and was a big supporter of his alma mater, its faculty and its students.

“If you have Claude Williams for a friend, you don’t need but one,” Cully Clark, dean emeritus of Grady College, said of Williams in 2013 when he was awarded the Dean’s medal.

Williams was a counselor to Clark when he assumed the role of dean.

“I can’t begin to tell you what Claude meant to me, but it was everything,” Clark continued. “In the most difficult times, and every dean has them, Claude heard me out and always had his arm on my shoulder.”

Putting his journalism degree to go use, Williams made a huge impact on communications in Athens and other Georgia communities by operating several radio stations early in his career and starting an outdoor advertising company later in life. Perhaps one of the biggest impacts he made to the Athens community was when he started the Athens Daily News.

While at Athens Daily News, he worked with Grady alumnus Mark Smith (ABJ ’66), a relationship that would have a profound impact on Smith and would last more than 50 years.

“Claude was a friend and a mentor,” Smith said. “At an early age, he taught me the importance and value of hard work, fairness, family and sharing. We stayed in touch all the years and he shared my successes and failures, but was always there with advice. Any success I have had I owe in part to Claude Williams.”

Community involvement was a cornerstone in Williams’ life with involvement in everything from serving as Athens Area Chamber of Commerce president and on several boards of local banks, to working as a founder of the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame and on the first board for the Boys Club, just to name a few.

“He did much for many, often anonymously,” Smith recalled.

Dean Charles Davis and Claude Williams in 2015.
Dean Charles Davis and Claude Williams in 2015.

Williams earned a history degree from UGA before he earned his journalism degree, and giving back to the university was always important to him. He was a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation Board from 1993 to 2002, and he started the Claude Williams Venture Fund at Grady College to support future journalists.

“I want to contribute to helping students and people, not brick and mortar,” Williams said in a 2015 interview with Grady College students. “That’s been a theme in my civic and outside activities, and you ought to give back to your community. If you live in a community, you better be involved with that community.”

When Williams was named an inaugural Grady Fellow in 2008, he reflected on his time at Grady College.

“I have many fond memories of my time as a student at UGA and the Grady College,” Williams said. “My most valuable and lasting experience was Dean John Drewry’s magazine class.  It was in this class that I learned to scan and read several newspapers, magazines and periodicals daily.  Valuable lessons that have benefited me greatly during the last 60 years.”

It is hard to imagine what more Williams could have packed into his life. His most important role was that of husband to his wife of 70 years, Charlotte, and father to their two children, R. Sanders Williams and Lynn Dicks. Charlotte preceded Claude in death by six days.

“I think Claude waited until everything was done for Charlotte and then said a farewell himself,” Parker Middleton, a friend and senior director of external relations at Grady College, said. “That is just who he was.”

Before all his business ventures and his civic involvement, Williams was a war hero. He enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 63rd Division along the French-German border adjacent to Switzerland during World War II. He was involved in breaking through Germany’s so-called “Impenetrable West Wall,” the Siegfried Line, and served under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as a Special Services officer after the war ended. For his heroism during the war, Williams earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. In 2013, he was awarded the Legion of Honor medal by the French consulate, an honor, established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and bestowed on U.S. veterans who risked their lives to liberate France.

A full obituary for Claude Williams Jr. can be read online. Memories by his children and other business leaders can also be found online.

Award-winning journalist and namesake to deliver Holmes-Hunter Lecture

Grady College alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist, will present the 2018 Holmes-Hunter Lecture Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel.

Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.
Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.

The lecture is named in honor of Hunter-Gault and her classmate Hamilton Holmes, the first African-American students to attend UGA. They arrived on campus in 1961 after civil rights leaders in Atlanta successfully challenged the segregation policy at the state’s universities. Hunter-Gault graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1963, going on to work for prestigious media outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, CNN and NPR.

“We are delighted that Charlayne will return to campus to provide the Holmes-Hunter Lecture this year,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “She has achieved so much in her career as a groundbreaking journalist, and we are deeply grateful that she continues to give back to her alma mater in so many ways.”

Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, recently established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless, to provide grants to UGA students promoting social justice and global understanding.

Among numerous awards for her reporting, Hunter-Gault won two Emmys for national news and documentary coverage and two Peabody Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism, administered by Grady College. She was the first African-American Commencement speaker at UGA in 1988. In 2001, the academic building where Hunter-Gault and Holmes registered was renamed the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building in their honor, marking the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of the university.

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture focuses on race relations, civil rights and education and has been held annually since 1985.

Grady graduate encourages Class of 2017 to celebrate personal journeys in speech at UGA Fall Commencement

There was a time when donning a cap and gown as a college graduate seemed like a dream out of reach for Samuel Peraza. As a first-generation American growing up for much of his life in a single-parent household, he faced many barriers. But it was his triumph through adversity that ultimately led Peraza to not only graduate from the University of Georgia but also to be honored as the Fall 2017 Commencement Student Speaker.

“My story, like each of yours, is comprised of trial and triumph,” said Peraza, a public relations graduate who also earned a Public Affairs Professional Certificate. “This is a culmination of years of hard work, and I celebrate and commend you equally for that accomplishment.”

Peraza gave an impassioned speech to the Class of 2017, urging fellow graduates to continue in the celebration of their personal journeys by practicing three things: basking in the ambiguity (the freedom that comes with choice afforded by college degrees), facing the future confidently and loving well.

“Our definition of success may change over time, but the one thing that will remain true is the power of a meaningful relationship,” he said.

Peraza’s speech came to a touching conclusion with a bilingual tribute to his mother, thanking her for the many sacrifices she’s made for him and his family.

“My hope is that one day I’ll be able to give you the life you deserve, because you have devoted your entire life to your children, our family and ultimately my education,” he said.

Watch Peraza’s speech in its entirety below.

Peraza plans to move to New York City and pursue a career in public relations.

First MFA and Emerging Media graduates among those recognized at Fall 2017 Grady Convocation

Pictures from the Fall 2017 Grady Convocation can be viewed on the UGA Grady Flickr gallery:

Master’s degrees, Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism, EMST

Nearly 175 students graduated from Grady College this semester, many of whom were recognized at the Fall 2017 convocation on December 14, 2017, at the Hugh Hodgson Performing Arts Center.

A student celebrates with a moment of victory as he crosses the stage at the Grady College Convocation ceremonies.
Sports Media Certificate graduate Patrick O’Shea celebrates with a moment of victory as he crosses the stage at the Grady College Convocation ceremonies. (Photo: Chamberlain Smith)

Among graduates were 28 master’s students, including Grady’s first graduates of its Master of Fine Arts program and its new Emerging Media master’s degree.

Undergraduates who were recognized included 32 students with an advertising degree, 20 with a degree in public relations, 59 from the journalism program, two who studied digital and broadcast journalism, 28 from the entertainment and media studies department and five with a mass media arts degree.

Dean Charles Davis presided over the ceremony, giving an overview of Grady’s accomplishments this past year and praising the students for their hard work, passion and academic excellence.

Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88), executive producer and president of Atlanta ImageArts and a member of the Grady Board of Trust, addressed candidates with a speech that compared the five principles of journalism — who, what, when, where and why — and challenged the graduates to ask themselves questions to determine what their personal story is.

Danneman explained that much of this is rooted in the values and principles you hold dear.

“If you can find your ‘why’ and you can be rooted in your values, you are going to be happy when you get up and go to work every day,” Danneman advised.

He also challenged the graduates to “let people know by the integrity of your work, by the quality of your work, by the camaraderie and friendship that you have with your co-workers, that you are a team player…that you are a Grady graduate.”

“I am Grady, you are Grady and it is a great day to be a Grady Dawg,” Danneman concluded.

The distinguished senior speaker, a student chosen based on an audition among the graduates for the spot, was Gabrielle Cowand, a journalism major and communication studies minor, who is working toward her master’s in Emerging media, as well.

“Grady didn’t teach us the ‘it’ factor; we already had that,” Cowand said. “It simply taught us how to use our talents at max capacity. It opened our minds to what we didn’t know to do or create. We have learned how to constantly strive to reach our full potential and that we have no limits.”

“We have to create our own circumstances,” she continued. “We define the rules. We write our own story. A whole lot of legwork is required on our end, but the good news is that we have a whole lot of people behind us. Grady really is a family.”

Bryan Harris (MA ‘03), outgoing chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, concluded the platform of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college.

“The real education is just beginning and members of the Grady Society will be with you every step of the way,” Harris said.

He encouraged the students to stay in touch with the college and give their time, experiences and talents to future students.

Harris finished his thoughts with this advice: “Stay engaged and raise your hand when Grady calls.”

Len-Ríos named associate dean of Grady College

María E. Len-Ríos (MA ’95), an associate professor of public relations, has been named associate dean of academic affairs at Grady College.

“I’m delighted that Dr. Len-Ríos—a treasured faculty member and a leading scholar on issues of diversity and representation in mass communication—has answered the call to leadership,” Dean Charles Davis said. “She’s a joy to work with, embodying the model of servant leadership so important in upholding the high standards of Grady College.”

Len-Ríos teaches courses in public relations, health communication and cross-cultural journalism. She has served as the interim chair of the Grady College diversity committee for the past year, and in 2016, she co-edited a book, “Cross-Cultural Journalism: Communicating Strategically About Diversity,” with Earnest Perry of the University of Missouri, which they recently discussed at a panel at The Miami Book Fair. Len-Ríos also serves as a 2017-2018 UGA Women’s Leadership Fellow.

“I am very grateful for this honor and look forward to working with Grady College faculty, staff, students and alumni as we continue to build on the successes Grady has achieved as one of the top programs in the state and in the nation,” Len-Ríos said.  “I am proud and honored to be part of the leadership team that will prepare the college to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the roles of journalism and the communications professions in society. ”

Len-Ríos joined the Grady College faculty in 2014. Prior to that, Len-Ríos taught public relations and cross-cultural journalism courses at the Missouri School of Journalism, as well as at the University of Kansas and Georgia Southern University.

Len-Ríos, with colleagues and doctoral students, has earned more than nine top research awards in national and international academic conferences across multiple areas.

In addition to a master’s degree from Grady College, Len-Ríos earned a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri.

Len-Ríos is the incoming associate editor of the Journal of Public Relations Research and a member of the editorial boards of Public Relations Review, the International Journal of Strategic Communication, and The Howard Journal of Communications.

Len-Ríos is actively serving in her new role as she prepares to assume the duties from Alison Alexander, senior associate dean for academic affairs, who retires in June 2018.

Eight Grady College alumni to be honored at 2018 Bulldog 100 Awards

Eight graduates of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication representing seven businesses will be honored by the University of Georgia Alumni Association at the 2018 Bulldog 100 awards ceremony in January.

The annual program recognizes the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

To be considered for the award, a company must be in business for a minimum of five years, have verifiable revenues of $100,000 or more for the calendar year 2014, and operate in a manner consistent with the Pillars of the Arch and in keeping with the values and image of UGA, according to criteria set by the UGA Alumni Association.

The following Grady College alumni and their businesses will be recognized:

The final rankings—determined by a compounded annual growth rate over the last three years—will be released during the ceremony.

The public, including UGA alumni and friends, is invited to celebrate the Bulldog 100 honorees Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. The evening will begin with a reception, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Registration is open at

Grady College holds memorial tribute to Don Carter, commemorates Endowment for Journalism Excellence

Grady College faculty, alumni and friends celebrated a memorial tribute to alumnus Don Carter (ABJ ’38) and commemorated the Don E. Carter and Carolyn McKenzie Carter Endowment for Journalism Excellence Oct. 12, 2017, in the Peyton Anderson Forum.

“Today we are privileged to remember Don and gather with people who will testify to his hope for journalism and for the students who will follow him at Grady College,” said Dean Charles Davis.

(l.-rt.) Kent Middleton and Terry Readdick reminisce about their friend, Don Carter.

Kent Middleton, professor emeritus of journalism and friend of the Carters, spoke about Don’s hopes for journalism’s enduring values.

“For Don, excellent journalism was simple. It was truthful, timely information delivered by smart, curious reporters in clear sentences,” said Middleton. “He reminded students and board members regularly about the importance of getting the story right, naming sources and explaining the importance of journalism to the community.”

Continued Middleton: “Don trusted the Grady College to employ his and Carolyn’s gifts to perpetuate factual, ethical and fair journalism. And, of course, there’s never been a time when the public has needed that kind of journalism more.”

Janice Hume shares the vision and plans for the Carter Endowment for Journalism Excellence.

Janice Hume, head of the Department of Journalism and Carolyn McKenzie Carter and Don E. Carter Chair for Journalism Excellence, discussed the vision and plans for the Endowment for Journalism Excellence.

“Our mission is to use this transformative gift to pass those values along to our students and to strengthen our industries,” Hume said.

The Carter gifts have been used to establish a course in journalism credibility, fund faculty research, support an intern at The Brunswick News—Don Carter’s hometown newspaper, launch a “Best Summer Stories” student contest, fund student travel for training and networking, and help to send students to cover the Paralympic Games in Rio, with much more to come, she said.

Terry Readdick, another longtime friend of the Carters, shared some of his fondest memories that illustrated the couple’s shared sense of humor and zest for life.

“(Don) and Carolyn loved life, more than anybody I think I’ve ever met,” Readdick said. “I discovered they traveled to every continent. They traveled to all but a handful of countries…they had so many friends and they did so many things.”

Among those in attendance at the memorial tribute were members of the Grady Board of Trust. Member Jim Zachary devoted a column in the Oct. 15 issue of The Valdosta Daily times to Carter, which he titled “Walking in the shadow of journalism greatness“. The piece is published here with permission.

Don Carter was a truth teller.

He died at the age of 99 and was still telling the truth right up until his death.

He was a journalist.

In fact, Carter was a journalist’s journalist.

At the Grady Board of Trust meeting held on the campus of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia Thursday, we listened to stories about Carter and his love of Grady and for journalism.

A Grady grad, Carter found himself at The Atlanta Journal in the early 1940s and that is how he found the other love of his life, Carolyn McKenzie, who competed with him for coverage while she was reporting for the Atlanta Constitution.

Their rivalry was more than friendly, it became a lifelong love story, and they were married for more than 60 years.

Don was always — and first and foremost — a reporter.

By the end of his illustrious newspaper career, he was vice president of news for Knight-Ridder.

For many years, he sat on the board of directors of The Red & Black newspaper that serves the University of Georgia campus.

As chairman of the board that Carter shaped for so many years, it is impossible not to feel the weight of his shadow and to be humbled by it.

Don Carter is newspaper royalty.

When he spoke, people listened.

Carter believed in the importance of factual and unbiased reporting.

He thought it was absolutely essential that hard news reporting and editorials be clearly separated.

He died at his beloved home on Sea Island and left behind an incredible legacy and large endowment for Grady College and the educating of future journalists.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution quoted President Jimmy Carter at the time of Don Carter’s death, “Rosalynn and I mourn the loss of my cousin and lifelong friend Don Carter. Don and I grew up together in Plains, and he supported me throughout my political career. He will be remembered not only as a superb journalist and newspaper executive, but as an advocate for the important role that journalists play in our democracy.”

Newspapers have a rich tradition as the Fourth Estate, providing a check on government while serving as a public watchdog.

That important role in democracy depends on journalistic integrity.

Journalistic integrity depends on accuracy in reporting, naming sources, correcting mistakes and clearly distinguishing between news and editorials.

Don Carter believed news reporting was about telling readers who, what, when, where, why and sometimes how and not about telling readers what to think.

Opinions are for opinion pages.

News pages are for news — for truth telling — the thing that Don Carter did best.

See more photos from the tribute on the UGA Grady Flickr account.