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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:Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

URI journalism alumni raise more than $20,000
for scholarship honoring legendary professor

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 31, 2003 -- After an evening of stories, jokes and jabs, University of Rhode Island Journalism Professor Emeritus Wilbur L. Doctor was stunned to hear that more than $20,000 had been raised for a scholarship in his honor.

During the early June event to honor Doctor’s work as a professor and Journalism Department chairman, Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced the scholarship total.

As she commended the more than 90 alumni and friends who had donated to the fund, Doctor’s jaw dropped in surprise after learning that so much had been donated.

It was a fitting end to a night of stories told by former students about Doctor’s influence on their careers and lives. The Kingston resident, ever the teacher, had the audience roaring as he corrected the grammar of those who had the courage to offer remarks.

"The response from journalism alumni was heartwarming because of their respect and fondness for Wilbur Doctor, but also because it represents their support for the program," said URI Journalism Instructor John Pantalone, a 1971 graduate of the program. "Alumni have established a genuine legacy in Wilbur's name since he devoted so much of his professional life to training good reporters."

The new endowment will support an annual scholarship for a URI junior or senior majoring in journalism who demonstrates academic strength and professional promise in the field of journalism.

Tom Zorabedian, senior development officer for the College of Arts and Sciences, said he enjoyed the night thoroughly even though he did not have Doctor in the classroom and had only gotten to know him over the past year.

"It was terrific to see such an enthusiastic group of alumni return to campus, most for the first time in many years, to honor their former professor and to see old friends," Zorabedian said. "To raise more than $20,000 over a period of only 3 to 4 months is a tribute to both the impact that Wilbur made on the lives of these alumni, and to their willingness to generously support the journalism program at URI."

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. He instilled in his students the need for integrity, honesty and ethics.

Those interested in making a donation to the scholarship fund should call Zorabedian at 401-874-2853 or contact him by email at

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