LSU’s Manship School to Induct Three into Hall of Fame
BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication will induct three honorees into the school’s Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 19. The 2012 inductees include Jim Engster, president/general manager of the Louisiana Radio Network, or LRN; Lou Major, former publisher of the Bogalusa Daily News and retired president of Wick Communications; and the late Elayn Hunt Eicher, a noted corrections reform advocate. The ceremony will be held at Juban’s restaurant beginning at 7 p.m.
Engster has served in various roles in the Baton Rouge news cycles since his graduation from LSU in 1981. Currently he is the president and general manager of the Louisiana Radio Network – the state’s largest network provider of radio news, sports and agricultural news – and the host of “The Jim Engster Show,” a daily public affairs and news program heard on Baton Rouge public radio station WRKF-FM 89.3.
Engster also has served as a political analyst for WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge for the past 10 years. In 2005, he reported from Israel for WAFB – the only local reporter to cover the Israeli pullout of Gaza.
Prior to owning LRN, he hosted “Louisiana Live,” a program which aired on dozens of stations across Louisiana from 1998 through 2003. His career also includes a three-year stint as general manager of WRKF-FM.
“[Jim’s] contributions to the Manship School and the Baton Rouge Community cannot be understated,” said Mike Danna, host of “This Week in Louisiana Agriculture” in his nomination letter. “His reporting has shown a commitment to fair and balanced news through a medium, radio, that has all but lost its local voice over the years.”
During his 30-year career, Engster has won dozens of awards for his reporting and public service work.
Lou Major began working with The Bogalusa Daily News and its parent organization, Wick Communications, after graduating from LSU in 1951. Throughout his 60-plus-year newspaper career, he has worked as a reporter, sports editor, news editor and publisher.
As publisher, Major guided The Daily News through Bogalusa’s racial unrest in the late 1960s. Despite numerous attempts of intimidation from the Ku Klux Klan – including crosses burned at the newspaper office and on the front lawn of his home – he continued to cover the civil rights events of the period.
Major served as publisher of The Daily News until 1997, eventually becoming CEO and executive vice president and later president of Wick Communications. During his tenure as a company executive, the company grew to include nearly 30 community newspapers in 10 states. Among newspapers owned by Wick Communications are The Bogalusa Daily News, the St. Tammany News of Covington, the Slidell Sentry, the LaPlace L’Observateur and The Daily Iberian. Major retired in 2001 and was named to the company’s board of directors, a position he continues to hold today.
After receiving her bachelor’s in journalism in 1945, Elayn Hunt began working as a police and court reporter for the Baton Rouge “State Times.” The events she witnessed while covering the police beat inspired a career change, and in 1950, she received her bachelor’s degree in law from the LSU School of Law. She was one of only two female law students in the school at that time.
She became one of the first women to practice criminal law in Louisiana, specializing in providing legal assistance to prisoners. Throughout her career, Hunt served as a guest lecturer for courses at LSU and the Baton Rouge police training academy; she also lectured at various places on drug abuse. She helped found the Genesis House, a Baton Rouge crisis intervention center, where she served on the advisory staff, and served on numerous other committees in the Baton Rouge area.
In 1972, Gov. Edwin Edwards appointed Hunt as director of the Louisiana Corrections Department – the first woman in the state to hold that position and the second female director of corrections in the United States. Hunt implemented many penal reforms in the areas of prisoner rights, welfare and rehabilitation.
After Hunt died in 1976, the Elayn Hunt Memorial Scholarship Fund was established at the LSU School of Law and the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center at St. Gabriel was named in her honor.
The induction ceremony will also include the initiation of students into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national honor society designed to encourage and recognize outstanding scholarship and the only honor society in journalism and mass communication recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies.
Additional awards to be presented during the evening will be the T.C. Shields Award for Outstanding Alumni Service, the Hugh Mercer Blain Award for Outstanding Student Service, the Errol Savoie Student Writing Award, the Charles Manship Outstanding Graduate Student Award, WBRZ Apprenticeship Award, and senior awards for top male and top female.
Tickets are $50 per person and can be reserved or purchased by calling Sara Courtney at 225-578-2418 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited to 150, so reservations must be made by Monday, April 16. Ticket prices include dinner and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Cocktails will be served at a cash bar beginning at 6 p.m., with the dinner and ceremony beginning at 7 p.m.
The Manship School thanks its generous sponsors for making this event possible: The Advocate, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, Franklin, Wick Communications, ExxonMobil, deGravelles & Associates, Unglesby & Marionneaux, Phoenix Consulting Group, Courson Nickel, LSU Alumni Association, Press Club of BR and many others.