Sanford Circle profile: Dyar Edwin Massey, Jr.

Sanford Circle profile: Dyar Edwin Massey, Jr.

April 14, 2021
Grady Salutes will be virtual this year.
Please join our celebration on Facebook and YouTube at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 16.

Dyar Edwin Massey, Jr. (ABJ ’37, MA ’38) is one of those people who didn’t let an opportunity pass to get involved and make a difference—both as a student and as a communications professional.

Grady College is proud to honor Massey for his numerous contributions to journalism, education and his community by inducting him into the Sanford Circle, a posthumous honor created to recognize friends of the college whose achievement and generosity of spirit remain with us.

The induction takes place virtually April 16 at 7 p.m. during the College’s annual Grady Salutes event.

“Dyar was incredible and set a positive example in every way,” said his brother, Abit Massey. “He had a genuine willingness to help others and was active across the campus.”

Dyar Massey (l.) served as editor-in-chief of The Red & Black along with Capers Holmes (ABJ ’38,  MA ’48), managing editor, and Don Carter (ABJ ’38), associate editor. (Photo: Red & Black)

A native of South Carolina, Dyar Massey began his  journalism career in high school and continued to The Red & Black where he ultimately served as editor-in-chief. Despite the fact that he finished his undergraduate degree in three years, Massey was very active on campus serving in leadership positions in Blue Key, Sigma Delta Chi journalism fraternity, UGA Baptist Union and the YMCA, among others. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa; Sphinx, the highest non-scholastic honor; and the Demosthenian Literary Society.

As Dyar continued to pursue his master’s degree in journalism, he started teaching as an assistant and later as a Teaching Fellow on the faculty of Grady, the school that was just over 20 years old. John Drewry was the director (later called dean) and according to Massey’s brother, Abit, rumor has it that Drewry asked Dyar to substitute for him when he was out of town and was amazed at how much Dyar covered in his absence.

Following graduation, Massey served in three positions simultaneously from 1939 to 41: director of public relations for the University of Georgia, executive secretary (now called executive director) of the UGA Alumni Association and assistant professor of journalism.

After purchasing the Headlight newspaper in Wrightsville, Georgia, in 1945, he served as editor and publisher until 1951, writing articles, among others, condemning the Ku Klux Klan in the area.

Dyar Massey served as publisher and editor of the Headlight, in Wrightsville, Georgia, in the early 1950s.

Massey was invited to come back to Athens in 1950 to direct the UGA Sesquicentennial ceremonies and continued working at his alma mater serving as director of public relations from 1951 to 1954.

Service to community continued to be a guide for Dyer long after college and throughout his career. He served as president of the American College Public Relations Association, president of Southeastern Association of Teachers of Journalism, deacon in Baptist Churches in each community he lived and served on the board of managers of the Georgia Press Association, among other organizations.

Massey continued his service to higher education, serving as director of development at Furman University and vice president for development and planning at Emory University.

Dyar battled diabetes throughout his life and died in 1973.

“Diabetes shortened his life,” said Abit, “and he passed at 56, so he had less time to make his mark, but he made it well—showing others by example how to live and die.”

Video credit: Atlanta Image Arts