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Donald Lambert

Donald A. Lambert, professor emeritus of journalism in Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication, poses with the bust of Edward Willis Scripps, founder of the E.W. Scripps Co. and the namesake of OHIO’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

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Ohio University mourns the death of professor emeritus of journalism

Donald Lambert taught in E.W. Scripps School of Journalism for more than 30 years


The Ohio University community is mourning the loss of Professor Emeritus of Journalism Donald A. Lambert, 82, who died on Saturday, Jan. 3.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in journalism, Lambert served 18 months in the Army before joining the newsroom at the Erie (Pa.) Morning News in 1958. He spent nearly 10 years at the newspaper, serving as a general assignment reporter then as a city government reporter and finally as the editorial page editor, a position that allowed him to frequently pen weekly and daily columns often focusing on government and/or humor.

Lambert brought his passion for news and editorial writing as well as his sense of humor to Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, joining the faculty in 1967. Over the course of the next 30-plus years, Lambert taught hundreds of aspiring journalists in courses that included news writing, editorial writing, column writing and journalism ethics. He retired in 2000 but continued to teach part-time for the next few years.

“Don’s former students always will hear echoes of his sage wisdom and advice, grounded in his own real-world experience,” said Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Lambert’s support for journalism students extended beyond the classroom and the Athens Campus. He served as an adviser for Ohio University’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for 24 years and was a member of the organization’s national professional development committee for eight years. Lambert helped to lead student delegations to 13 national SPJ conventions and 19 regional conferences, and in 1988 earned the SPJ’s national Outstanding Campus Adviser Award.

Lambert’s service on the Athens Campus also included many years of coordinating journalism scholarships and serving on The Post Publishing Board, a committee that assists OHIO’s independent student-run newspaper in its communication efforts while ensuring that it provides the maximum opportunity for students to develop journalistic experience. In addition, Lambert co-authored the textbook “Fundamentals of News Reporting” along with his colleagues and fellow Professors Emeriti of Journalism Hugh Culbertson and Ralph Izard, who is also a former director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

“I feel very fortunate to have had Don as a colleague for the early years of my teaching career,” said Stewart, who joined the faculty at the Scripps College of Communication in 1987. “He was a wonderful role model in how to treat your fellow professors, even when you might have disagreements. He’ll always be remembered as fair minded, and committed to hearing what you had to say. Don was a wonderful colleague, a gentleman, and a true mentor to those of us who came along afterwards.”

A skilled musician who played in both the Penn State Marching and Concert Blue Bands as well as in the U.S. Army band, Lambert would often play with the Communiversity Band during the “Under the Elms” Summer Concert Series held on Ohio University’s College Green. The band included Ohio University faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as local residents.

Lambert was a member of the Ohio University Emeriti Association, the Penn State Alumni Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at First United Methodist Church, 2 S. College St., in Athens followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Schoonover Center 110, Athens, OH 45701 with “in memory of Don Lambert” in the memo line, or to Best Friends Animal Society at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741-5000 or at bestfriends.org.