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Former journalism school director to be 2010 State News Hall of Fame inductee

News / Former journalism school director to be 2010 State News Hall of Fame inductee

Stan Soffin helped grow Michigan State University School of Journalism into internationally recognized program

The State News Alumni Association will honor Michigan State University Ombudsman Stan Soffin, who led the MSU School of Journalism from 1982 to 1998, as a 2010 inductee to the State News Hall of Fame.

Soffin, of East Lansing, is the longest-serving director in the history of the School of Journalism. He joined the school in 1968 as an instructor while pursuing his doctorate. Soffin also is a former member of the board of directors of The State News Inc., the nonprofit corporation that operates The State News, MSU’s student newspaper.

“Stan Soffin has left his mark on generations of young journalists as a mentor, teacher and scholar,” said Hall of Fame Chair Joe Serwach, who served as State News editor in chief in 1985-86. “He continues to be a devoted advocate for The State News and other programs that raise the bar for quality journalism.”

Soffin will be honored Saturday as part of the celebration of the centennial of MSU’s journalism education program. The daylong event features a campus workshop for journalists, communication professionals and students and a reception at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place.

Then-Michigan Agricultural College offered its first journalism class in 1910, following an editorial in the student newspaper, The Holcad, calling for the course. The Holcad eventually became The State News.

Soffin played a key role in elevating the stature of MSU’s journalism program. As director, he successfully guided the journalism program through three accreditation reviews. He also attracted outstanding faculty to the program and instituted fundraising campaigns that brought new technology, scholarships and programs to the school, including the Knight Chair in Journalism, the Hispanics in Journalism Program and the Victims and the Media Program. In 1985, he took a lead role in reviving the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 1999. He also successfully brought the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, which does programming for high school and middle school journalism programs throughout the state, to MSU in 1982.

“Generations of Michigan State journalists owe a debt of gratitude to Stan Soffin,” said Jeremy W. Steele, president of the State News Alumni Association and editor in chief of the campus daily in 2002. “His commitment and dedication to MSU journalism has improved our entire profession.”

Inductees are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of the State News Alumni Association to honor their extraordinary work either at or after leaving The State News. Past winners include a White House press secretary, a university president, the first woman publisher of the Detroit Free Press, a Detroit News executive editor, a nationally syndicated cartoonist, a Pulitzer Prize winner and an MSU economics professor who wound up being the longest serving columnist in the history of The State News.

For information about past inductees, or to nominate an alumnus for the Hall of Fame, click here.