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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Journalism grads to hold June 7 benefit for Doctor scholarship

Event to honor former journalism chairman, professor

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 23, 2003 -- If you graduated from the University of Rhode Island journalism program between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s, there’s a good chance that Wilbur L. Doctor impacted your life.

And there’s a better chance that Doctor would have scolded you, probably in front of your classmates, for using "impact" as a verb.

On Sat., June 7, from 5–8 p.m., alumni will have a chance to thank the oft-cantankerous wordsmith who taught students to shun flowery writing, to uphold journalism’s highest principles and to appreciate the beauty of well-crafted sentences. The informal evening at the University Club on Upper College Rd. will provide an opportunity for journalism graduates to reminisce about the days of assignments being returned awash in corrective red marker and late nights at The Cigar, The Great Swamp Gazette, Renaissance and WRIU.

But most importantly, they’ll have a chance to raise $20,000 for an endowed scholarship in Doctor’s name that will benefit URI journalism students for years to come. .

A professor emeritus of journalism and former department chairman, Doctor honed his craft at Rhode Island newspapers, working first for The Newport Daily News and then for 16 years on the rewrite desk for The Providence Journal. He liked strong, muscular words, disliked puffery and felt that newspaper reporting was a calling. The Kingston resident instilled in his students the need for integrity, honesty and ethics.

The cost of the buffet dinner is $25. Please call Dave Lavallee at 401-874-5862, or John Pantalone at 401-874-9077 for information or reservations.

"Wilbur Doctor came from the old school of journalism," said Pantalone, a 1971 URI journalism graduate and now a University journalism instructor. "He impressed journalism majors with a commitment to honesty and accuracy. He prepared us not just to be reporters and editors, but to be good at whatever we did. We all owe him some tribute; a scholarship in his name will help continue his important legacy at URI."

"We’ve received some wonderful gifts so far," said Lavallee, a 1979 journalism graduate who now works in URI’s Dept. of Communications. "But to reach our goal, we need our alumni to consider gifts of $500 to $1,000, which they can pay off over a five-year period. We want to reach our goal to honor Wilbur’s work at URI and to provide scholarship support to deserving journalism students. "

Paul Senzer '77, who was a former editor of The Cigar and is now a judge in Long Island, donated $500 and issued a challenge: "In the name of sporting good fun, I challenge all former editors of The Good 5 Cent Cigar to do the same," Senzer said. "When I thought about the absolute bargain my education at URI was; all the good stuff I gained from Wilbur and the entire J-faculty; and then remembered that I actually got paid a stipend for the privilege of serving as Cigar managing editor in 1975-76 and then as editor-in-chief in 1976-77 -- a proper contribution to the endowment became a no-brainer. There are many talented (and yes, even affluent) former URI J-majors.

"If, after all these years, the memory of an icon is not worth at least $500, then --hell-- what else is?" he added.

For questions about the fund or to make a donation, please call Tom Zorabedian, senior development officer for the College of Arts and Sciences at 401-874-2853.

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