Former Missouri Journalism Dean Honored for Contributions to Journalism and His Alma Mater

Elmer Lower Served as a Television Executive for ABC News, CBS and NBC

Elmer Lower and Dean Mills
Elmer Lower, left, with Dean Mills, at the September 2008 dedication of a new bust of Missouri School of Journalism founding dean Walter Williams.

Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 22, 2012) — Friends of former journalism dean Elmer Lower are quick to note his love of the School that helped launch his remarkable career. Today, thanks to the support of many of those friends and alumni, the Missouri School of Journalism named a bench near Lower’s old office in his honor. Lower served as dean of the School from 1982-83.

Lower, a Kansas City native, graduated from the School of Journalism in 1933. From his humble beginning as a $10-a-week courthouse reporter for a newspaper in Kentucky, he would serve many years as a distinguished print reporter. With the advent of television news, Lower joined CBS in 1953 and would become an industry pioneer.

“Lower was a giant in the industry – one of the handful of people who helped create the golden age of broadcast journalism,” said Dean Mills, dean of the School of Journalism. “He was also a superb human being.”

Lower’s journalism career culminated with the presidency of ABC News, which he grew into a respected news operation. He is credited with discovering iconic journalists such as Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and Sam Donaldson. For Lower’s accomplishments, he received an Emmy for lifetime achievement. In 1959, the School recognized Lower with a Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

In Memory of Elmer W. Lower
In Memory of Elmer W. Lower

Friends and alumni began making memorial gifts to the School following Lower’s death in July 2011. These funds have been used to name a bench in his memory. Located outside of Neff Hall, the School’s original building, the bench serves as a reminder of Lower’s contributions to journalism and his alma mater.

“Elmer Lower personifies the best things about the Missouri School of Journalism,” said Rick Gevers, BJ ’75, and friend of Lower. “He was an extraordinary journalist whose career covered both print and broadcast journalism. He rose to the highest levels of his profession and has been credited with many groundbreaking achievements. And he was a terrific man and friend to many people, whether they were students, professionals in the industry, or heads of state. I’m glad he’ll always be remembered at the School he loved so much.”

Updated: June 10, 2020

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