Tag Archives: lee thornton

RTDNF Creates New Scholarship Honoring First Eaton Broadcast Chair Lee Thornton

Lee Thornton in the Journalism studio, Richard Eaton Broadcast Center in the Tawes Fine Arts Building. Shot 7/31/2006

From an RTDNF Press Release dated May 11, 2017.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – RTDNF is proud to announce the creation of the Lee Thornton Journalism Scholarship. Thornton’s estate has pledged $50,000 to endow a scholarship in her name.

Lee Thornton was the first African-American woman to cover the White House for a major news network (CBS) and the first African-American host of All Things Considered on National Public Radio. Later in her career, she taught at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and served a year as the school’s interim dean. She held a master’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate in mass communications from Northwestern University.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to honor Lee Thornton and help journalism students reach their potential,” said Amy Tardif, RTDNF Chair. “She was a trailblazing journalist and beloved educator who will be long remembered.”

“She was a broadcasting pioneer who inspired so many who came after her,” added Mike Cavender, RTDNF Executive Director. “We are pleased to be able to carry her legacy into the future.”

Beginning in 2017, a scholarship will be awarded annually to an undergraduate journalism student; one of a dozen scholarships and fellowships administered by RTDNF each year. The application process for the Foundation’s currently offered scholarships is under way now. More information and application details can be found on our scholarship information page.

About RTDNF
RTDNF, a 501 (c) 3 educational foundation, was created to help RTDNA members embody and uphold the standards of ethical journalism and promote leadership in the newsroom. RTDNF offers the electronic news community professional development opportunities, an open forum for the discussion of ethics, assistance with the development of leadership skills, support of First Amendment issues and the exchange of ideas and perspectives from electronic journalists worldwide. The Foundation also provides scholarships and fellowships to aspiring and early-career electronic journalists.

Merrill College Honors the Memory of Dr. Lee Thornton

ZC4U0886 Lee ThorntonUpdate: A Memorial Service for Dr. Lee Thornton was held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 at the Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Maryland. Download the program.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Dr. Lee Thornton, a trailblazing and award-winning journalist, news producer and educator who served as the first Eaton Broadcast Chair and as interim dean for the Merrill College – passed away Sept. 25 after a brief illness. She was 71.

“Lee Thornton was a journalism and communications scholar. She was a broadcast journalist. She excelled at both,” said Dean Lucy Dalglish. “And she could move back and forth in those fields seamlessly and be spectacularly good at both things.”

“Dr. T”  brought her years of experience working for local and Network TV — at CBS, CNN and NPR — to Merrill College in 1997 and quickly became known for her  “thorough yet caring” style of teaching. She taught television news reporting and production and documentary filmmaking as well as graduate courses. She overhauled and expanded the student news programs from ten minutes to 30 minutes. Over the years, her Merrill students won in excess of 80 national and regional awards and citations. Many of her students went on to successful careers as journalists.

She was also the creator, researcher, writer, producer and host for “Front & Center,” an award-winning series of in-depth interviews with journalists produced by the Merrill College’s cable station, UMTV. It was shown locally, nationally on Research TV and internationally on WorldNet.

Read more ...

Merrill Professor Named Maryland “Woman of the Year”

Prof. Lee Thornton was named the University of Maryland’s “Outstanding Woman of the Year” on Tuesday by the President’s Commission on Women’s Issues (PCWI).  Founded in the 1970s, the primary mission of the Commission is to advocate for the interest of the entire community of women at the University of Maryland College Park.

Each year in spring ceremonies, the Commission recognizes an Outstanding Woman of the Year along with an Outstanding Woman of Color, Outstanding Professional Staff and an Outstanding Graduate Student.

Currently serving as Interim Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity for the university, Prof. Thornton is responsible for early implementation of the university’s diversity strategic plan.  She was cited for her work as interim dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in 2008-09.

She was the College’s first woman dean.  She was also cited for her teaching awards and for being a broadcast news trailblazer, with several “firsts” to her credit.  She was the first African American woman to cover a regular White House beat for one of the then three broadcast news networks, CBS News.

Woman of the Year Award Recipients with UMCP President Wallace Loh (center). From Left to Right, Prof. Lee Thornton (Outstanding Woman of the Year), Sharon E. Kirkland-Gordon (Outstanding Woman of Color), Barbara J. Goldberg and Beverly R. Greenfeig (Outstanding Professional Staff), Corbin Campbell (Outstanding Graduate Student) In prepared remarks, Thornton thanked her students, “every one of them…for allowing me to learn with them.  I see and hear them on the air everywhere, all of the time.  And I know their success was less about me than it was about them.  I just got lucky.” She also thanked the Richard Eaton Foundation for its generous support of her work over the years.  She was the first holder of the Eaton Chair in Broadcast Journalism at Merrill, serving as Eaton professor from 1997 to 2010.

Woman of the Year Award Recipients with University of Maryland President Wallace Loh (center). From Left to Right, Prof. Lee Thornton (Outstanding Woman of the Year), Sharon E. Kirkland-Gordon (Outstanding Woman of Color), Barbara J. Goldberg and Beverly R. Greenfeig (Outstanding Professional Staff), Corbin Campbell (Outstanding Graduate Student)

In prepared remarks, Thornton thanked her students, “every one of them…for allowing me to learn with them.  I see and hear them on the air everywhere, all of the time.  And I know their success was less about me than it was about them.  I just got lucky.”

She also thanked the Richard Eaton Foundation for its generous support of her work over the years.  She was the first holder of the Eaton Chair in Broadcast Journalism at Merrill, serving as Eaton professor from 1997 to 2010.  It is the first endowed chair of its kind in the nation.

Added Merrill College Dean Kevin Klose: “We thank the President’s Commission on Women’s Issues for making it official: Lee Thornton is the greatest!”