By Mary Kenney
The Working Press
Not everyone can say they’ve had a career as varied as the one Lucy Dalglish has forged over the past three decades.
She began her career in 1980 as a reporter and editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where she covered a variety of beats, including general assignments, suburbs, education and courts. She worked as the city night editor, assistant news editor and national and foreign news editor during her tenure there. She went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University Law School and to earn a master’s of studies in law from Yale Law School, where she was a Knight
She didn’t stop there.
Dalglish — a former chairwoman for SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee and the 1995 recipient of the Wells Memorial Key, the society’s highest honor — was named dean of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism in May. She assumed her new duties on Aug.1.
“There’s lots of things to do here, and I’ve got a terrific faculty, and I’m really excited about it,” Dalglish said.
Before her appointment as dean, Dalglish was the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for 12 years. During her time there, she said she helped employ about 150 journalists and lawyers just out of school, so she’s used to working with students. She said her background in reporting, legal issues, fundraising and nonprofit management will help her at the university.
Friends and former colleagues were not surprised at the latest turn that Dalglish’s career has taken.
Fred Brown, a former SPJ president who retired from The Denver Post in 2002, met Dalglish 25 years ago, when she was still a student at the University of North Dakota. He was immediately impressed by her intelligence, he said, adding that he couldn’t think of a better advocate for press freedom.
“Lucy has made the First Amendment her major passion in terms of her professional life,” Brown said.
Brown said Dalglish will do well in her role as dean because she learns quickly and articulates her ideas well.
Bill McCloskey, the at-large director for SPJ and the 2008 recipient of the Wells Key, knew Dalglish during her time as a committeewoman for SPJ and has a unique connection to her: He once owned a pair of Dalglish’s red, full-length opera gloves.
Dalglish donated them to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Legal Defense Fund, and McCloskey said he had to have them. He bid, won and took them home, though he has no idea where they have disappeared to since then.
“I think what Lucy brings to the job is a skill for fundraising,” McCloskey said. “It’s something the dean of a journalism school needs in the 21st century.”
Dalglish succeeds Kevin Klose at the university.
“The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is fortunate to have someone with her broad experience, insight and vision to lead it through this era of transformation in the media world,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement posted on the school’s website.
Dalglish, who won the National Press Foundation’s W.M Kiplinger Award this year, said she wants to expand coverage of public policy to include the economy and science.
“I’m blessed here, because at the college of journalism, we focus on journalism,” she said. “We’re not obligated to focus on communications or filmmaking or other things like that. We can focus on being a great journalism school.”