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UTA mourns loss of longtime Shorthorn adviser

Friday, January 26, 2018 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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Dorothy Estes, a longtime educator and advocate for generations of UTA student journalists, died Thursday. She was 90.

Dorothy Estes

Dorothy Estes, longtime Shorthorn adviser, died Thursday.

Estes was director of student publications at The University of Texas at Arlington from 1970 to Oct. 1, 1996. Through those years, she shepherded hundreds of student journalists who would go on to work for major daily newspapers and win numerous awards.

Estes’ husband, Emory Estes, also a longtime UTA educator, died in 2013.

Beth Francesco, UTA director of student publications since 2013 and Shorthorn adviser from 2008-13, attended UTA after Estes retired but received a scholarship named for Dorothy when she was a Shorthorn staffer.

“For many students, Dorothy Estes was a fairy godmother,” said Francesco, who got to meet Estes during her visits to campus and during the scholarship luncheons. “She appeared and, with seemingly no effort, made things happen for you. If you needed encouragement, a push, a connection, help with your books or tuition, or if she heard your stomach grumbling, she had you covered.”

But Estes’ extensive advocacy for her students and the craft of journalism reached beyond the walls of student publications office.

“Without her will and creativity, student publications simply wouldn’t be what it is today,” Francesco said.

Under her leadership, The Shorthorn was known for reporting and writing, photography, layout and design, ad sales and incorporating the latest technology. It won every national and regional award given for college journalism, often more than once.

Francesco said Estes was proudest of the The Shorthorn’s 1995 Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Award. Perhaps her success is best measured by the nearly 600 students she mentored who entered the communications workforce.

Estes provided the vision and the funding for in-house production and daily publication and established a recruiting system involving high schools and community colleges.

“She built strong relationships across campus and in the community,” Francesco said.

Francesco said that those are processes and systems that student publications employs today.

Estes also was a tireless volunteer with the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, the Texas Community College Journalism Association, the SPJ Fort Worth chapter, and the College Media Association.

After her retirement from UTA in 1996, Estes remained an advocate for Shorthorn students.

A scholarship created in her name has aided dozens of Shorthorn staff members. That scholarship, in addition to the Lina Davis Scholarship she helped establish through SPJ Fort Worth, are among the ways her efforts will continue to assist future journalists.

To donate to the Dorothy Estes Scholarship, visit Contact Francesco at or 817-272-3188 for more information.

Visitation will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, in Arlington. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 2024 S. Collins St., in Arlington.