Walter Reed


Degree(s): BJ '49

Whereabouts: United States, Wilmette, Illinois

What do you do?
I retired from a long-time PR position in 1989 – director of public relations of the U.S. vending machine industry’s national trade association – then operated an international consulting service until 2003. For 19 years, I have been a very active Rotarian in my club and Rotary district. I am also an author and frequent speaker about World War II and the Holocaust.

Walter Reed, BJ '49
Walter Reed, BJ '49, at Utah Beach, Normandy, on a group bicycle tour in June 2009, exactly 65 years to the day that he landed there, one week after D-Day, in 1944.

How did you get your job?
The one I got in 1958 and held for 31 years came only after a prolonged and difficult search, reminiscent of present-day job-finding difficulties.

Walter Reed, BJ '49
Reed and his wife Jeanne attend one of Reed's speaking engagements at the Toledo, Ohio, Rotary Club.

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
That in a society where hype – in reporting and advertising – is the way to go, there need to be individuals and organizations which convey facts, and both sides, no matter what the fashion may be in politics or on cable or in blogs.

What advice do you have for current students?
Never abandon your moral and ethical compass in your work and life.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
The regular relief from daily stress in the nearby beer joints, shared with classmates…just kidding.

Any parting comments?
In my later life, unexpectedly, I find that the teachings of our J-School professors – Dean Mott, Ed Lambert, Mssrs. Sharp and Neal, etc. – are standing me in good stead, as I recently researched and wrote my first book about WWII and the Holocaust. Their insistence on facts and “If your mother says she loves you, check it out!” spirit has stayed with me and adds substance to all that I do.

Updated: November 10, 2011