Student Press Law Center mourns the loss of two tireless advocates

Student journalists lost two of their most revered national press-freedom advocates this year, and the Student Press Law Center lost two dear friends.

Louis Ingelhart, journalism professor emeritus at Ball State University and a former Student Press Law Center board member, died of complications from pneumonia in January.

He was regarded by many as the first professional advocate for the free-press rights of high school and college journalists. From his years as a high school student newspaper editor in the 1930s to those as a high school and college media adviser and scholar, Ingelhart was known throughout the nation as someone who cared about student journalism and the ability of students to make their publications their own.

He served on the SPLC board from virtually the organization’s founding until becoming a board member emeritus in 2000.

“No one has had a bigger impact on student-press freedom or the success of the SPLC than Louis Ingelhart,” said SPLC Executive Director Mark Goodman. “When the Center was struggling financially in the early 1980s, he was one of a small group who pledged his support and got pledges from others to keep this organization afloat.”

David L. Adams, a member of SPLC’s board of directors for almost 20 years, serving as chairman from 2003 through 2006, died in an accidental drowning in June.

In his time on the board, Adams played an essential role in leading SPLC’s growth and development, including its important strategic planning and concluding with the successful completion last year of the SPLC’s Tomorrow’s Voices endowment campaign.

Adams was publisher of and adviser to the Indiana Daily Student newspaper and the Arbutus yearbook, as well as a professor in the school of journalism at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

He was also a former president of the national College Media Advisers organization and a former executive director of the Journalism Education Association, a national organization of scholastic journalism teachers and advisers. In the United States and abroad, he was a prominent speaker and advocate for student press freedom.

“Dave was a bright light, always enthusiastically supporting the work of the SPLC and energetically defending the rights of students everywhere to publish freely,” said Rosalind Stark, chairwoman of the SPLC board of directors. “We are deeply saddened that Dave will not be with us as we celebrate the success of our work, but we know that as a generous contributor and tireless spokesperson, he was a principal reason for the phenomenal growth of the SPLC.”

“Dave was a great adviser and a great spokesperson for our cause,” Goodman said. “Anyone who came in contact with him quickly learned how much he cared about students and how committed he was to ensuring that their voices were heard.”

To honor Ingelhart, the SPLC has created a journalism internship that bears his name. The Louis Ingelhart Journalism Internship will allow a college student journalist or recent college graduate to spend a semester with the Student Press Law Center gathering information about student press-freedom issues and conflicts around the nation and writing about them for the Center’s Web site and magazine.

To honor Adams, the SPLC has created the David Adams Student Press Freedom Fund. The fund will support the SPLC’s work advising and defending student journalists and their advisers in their battles to publish free from censorship. Contributions to either program can be made via the SPLC’s Web site: n