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Former WVU journalism dean passes away at 95

Guy Stewart, the longest serving dean of the West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism 

Guy Stewart

(now the Reed College of Media ), died on Tuesday, May 14, at the age of 95.

Stewart was known for his nearly 30 years of service to the College, first as a professor and director of graduate studies, then as dean. He was also a driving force in the West Virginia Press Association and Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp.  

“Guy Stewart was much more than just dean emeritus. In many ways, he was also WVU’s dean of service,” said Ivan Pinnell, associate professor emeritus of journalism and long-time friend and colleague of Stewart. “In addition to his contributions to WVU, he was a dedicated member of Rotary International, his community and, of course, his family. I often wondered at his ability to juggle all those service balls in the air at the same time. He will be missed.”

Stewart, who grew up in Keyser, West Virginia, began his journalism career while still in high school, working for the Cumberland Evening Times, Mineral Daily News-Tribune and Wheeling Intelligencer. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU in 1948 and 1949, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1957. He also worked briefly at the Chicago Tribune.

Stewart returned to his alma mater in 1960 and served as the school’s dean from 1969-89. As dean, he oversaw the expansion of the school’s curriculum, was instrumental in renovations to the program’s home at Martin Hall and raised more than $2 million in scholarships and endowments. He returned as interim dean for two months in 1994.

“Guy’s inspired efforts to modernize the school’s curriculum and facilities have stood us well to this day,” said Maryanne Reed , dean of the College of Media and newly-appointed WVU provost. “He was an innovative, dedicated and highly respected leader — and a great friend and mentor. He will be missed.”

Stewart retired in 1989 and became active in the 4-H All-Stars, an informal committee devoted to upgrading Jackson’s Mill. He spearheaded a campaign that raised $450,000 for a new pool at the Weston facility and was chair of a 4-H All-Stars legislative committee that lobbied for up to $35 million to renovate the mill’s buildings. He also wrote a book, “A Touch of Charisma,” that chronicled the history of 4-H clubs in West Virginia.

“Guy Stewart was a wonderful friend of West Virginia 4-H,” said Steven Bonanno , dean and director of WVU Extension Service. “He was particularly fond of WVU Jackson’s Mill and served as a passionate advocate in securing resources and support to enhance programs and services for campers and other visitors.”

In 2006, Stewart was inducted into the WVU Order of Vandalia, the school’s highest honor for service to the institution. He was also a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.

He is survived by his wife, Pat, who lives in Morgantown and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU, and two children, Diane Lepley and Jeffrey Stewart.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 18, at noon at Wesley United Methodist Church, 503 N. High Street in Morgantown, West Virginia. Visitation is May 17 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Hastings Funeral Home, 153 Spruce Street, in Morgantown.