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Former 'Shorthorn' staffers swap stories at newspaper's 85th anniversary and reunion

The Shorthorn's anniversary and reunion

The Shorthorn's soon-to-be surplussed 1978 hand- painted delivery van received a personalized send-off from former students.

From Lisa Mulé Black, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, to Robert West, an illustrator at The Philadelphia Inquirer, to Tony Gutierrez, who shoots pictures for The Associated Press, the name tags at The Shorthorn’s 85th anniversary and reunion read like bylines and credit lines from the nation’s most prestigious publications.

More than 300 former editors, reporters, illustrators and page designers, photographers, advertising sales and office staffers, and production personnel for The Shorthorn and other UTA student publications produced since 1919 attended the October event.

They included 97-year-old L.G. Meier, the newspaper’s business manager in 1929, and Lloyd Clark, Shorthorn editor when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, the news event that prompted what is believed to be the first makeover of a completed Shorthorn front page.

Among the high-profile exes on hand was Don Carlton, a former Shorthorn cartoonist and Reveille yearbook editor (both at the same time!) who keeps a decidedly low profile as the artist—the “inker”—on Garry Trudeau’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip Doonesbury. Carlton had hoped to see more of his Arlington State College pals, but on the other hand, “that there were four of us there from 1958-59 or so was, perhaps, miraculous.”

“I enjoyed seeing the new digs for the pubs group there in the former, well, pub,” said Carlton, referring to the fact that the current Shorthorn offices were once the Dry Gulch, a campus bar in the 1980s.

Houston radio and television sports journalist Ken Hand (Shorthorn ’71), a former columnist with the Houston Post, was there taking a breather from his latest project, a documentary on former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith.

The reunion guests also included numerous writers, editors and photographers for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Associated Press, Bloomberg and the San Antonio Express News as well as several journalism teachers.

The program included remarks by former Student Publications Director Dorothy Estes, current Director Lloyd Goodman and former Shorthorn adviser and current writing coach John Dycus, who also was the subject of a surprise song parody. Meier, in a videotaped interview produced by exes Danny Woodward and Chris Piper, told of life at The Shorthorn and the college during his Prohibition-era days.

The program, Goodman said, featured something for former staffers of all eras. For example, a Star Trek video parody produced by the 1991 Shorthorn staff illustrated one of the most elaborate ways the close-knit students ever found to spend their off hours together.

Attendees signed the sides of The Shorthorn’s no-longer-street-legal 1978 delivery van to give it a nontraditional retirement. The hand-painted van will be declared surplus property and sold by UTA.

Staff members from the late 1960s and early ’70s held their own pre-reunion reunion and, after the Saturday evening banquet, joined those from other eras to continue the celebration into Sunday morning.

“Almost everybody who has ever worked for The Shorthorn or our other publications has come away with a love for the operation and an amazing connection with the people on the staff with them,” Goodman said. “But they don’t always feel linked to the staffs that came before or after theirs. I think the reunion did that for everyone who attended.

“The people who were here during the Dorothy Estes era and earlier got to know the people who have been here since, and the people who have been here since I’ve been here got to meet the people who were the center of the stories they’ve heard over and over and over. And you know what? They all found out that they’ve got a heck of a lot in common.”

Goodman said the reunion raised $2,500 for scholarships and laid the groundwork for a Shorthorn and Student Publications Exes Association. Another reunion will be planned in five years.

 Each attendee received a commemorative newspaper and a mug with the names of all Shorthorn editors from 1919 to 2004. Mary Schlangenstein, Shorthorn editor in 1978 and now a reporter for Bloomberg, e-mailed planners to say thanks and said that when her son saw the mug with her name on it, he asked if she was somebody famous.

Goodman said that kind of positive response sums up how advisers past and present feel about the contributions of everyone who has made The Shorthorn one of the nation’s most-respected college newspapers, one issue at a time, since 1919:

“They’re all famous to us.”


Editor’s note: Shorthorn and other exes who didn’t receive reunion invitations but want to be contacted about future Shorthorn news and events should send mailing and e-mail addresses to UTA Student Publications, Box 19038, Arlington, TX 76019 or to Lloyd Goodman at lloydg@uta.edu. Reunion attendees who took photos at the event are asked to send them to Student Publications Production Manager Adam Drew at adamcdrew@yahoo.com to be added to The Shorthorn archives.

— Donna Darovich

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