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Lorenz receives 2009 Dux Academicus Award

Alfred L. Lorenz, Ph.D., the A. Louis Read Distinguished Professor of Mass Communication, was awarded the Loyola University New Orleans 2009 Dux Academicus Award at Faculty and Staff Convocation on Friday, Jan. 15.

Loyola’s president, the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., presented the award, which recognizes a faculty member who “is able to impart the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities, sciences or the professions to students in a manner consistent with the unique philosophy of Loyola University New Orleans as a Jesuit institution of higher education.” Lorenz, who joined Loyola as a professor in 1981, was nominated by colleagues, students and former students, who cited his distinctive work as a faculty member, department chair and interim dean following Hurricane Katrina. He teaches introduction to mass communication, history of journalism, communications writing, ethics of mass communication and other courses in the School of Mass Communication in the College of Social Sciences.

In one recommendation letter, a former student wrote of Lorenz’s steadfast insistence on the importance of good writing and maintaining the integrity of the information journalists present.

“Dr. Lorenz had a way of demanding the respect of his students, but he was not demanding it for himself,” the student wrote. “He was demanding it for the profession he was teaching.”

His colleagues’ recommendation for the award echoed those sentiments. In addition to noting Lorenz’s lengthy career as a faculty member, they wrote of his contributions to his profession and his continuing work as a journalist and host of “Informed Sources,” a weekly public affairs program on public television in New Orleans.

For his part, Lorenz said he was humbled and honored to receive the award, and he felt a special obligation to the Jesuits, with whom he has worked or studied for almost 50 years.

“It occurred to me long ago that we lay faculty who are privileged to be associated with the Jesuits absorb at least some of their characteristics, to our students’ benefit,” Lorenz said, “striving to form young men and women intellectually and morally, who will leave Loyola, to paraphrase Cardinal Newman, fit for the world.”

Lorenz earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Marquette University in 1958, and entered the U.S. Army shortly after. In 1962, upon discharge from the Army, Lorenz joined United Press International, where he helped tell the stories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, integration in the South and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He continued to work occasionally as a stringer while earning both a master’s and a doctoral degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University.

Lorenz returned to Marquette as a faculty member in the College of Journalism in 1968, where he spent 12 years. He also taught for a year at New Mexico State University before coming to Loyola to chair the Department of Communications.

Lorenz is a past president of the Press Club of New Orleans and recipient of its lifetime achievement award. In 1980, Lorenz won a Clarion Award, presented by the national organization of Women in Communications, Inc., for “Anatomy of a Newscast,” a special program in the series “Milwaukee: Behind the Headlines,” for which he was reporter, writer and associate producer.

Lorenz was an assistant editor of American Journalism from 1984-87 and served on the Center for Nonprofit Resources board of directors from 1998-2004.

He is a prolific writer and reviewer and author of two books, “News: Reporting and Writing” and “Hugh Gaine: A Colonial Printer-Editor’s Odyssey to Loyalism.”