The West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism has established a fund in memory of former Ogden Newspapers Visiting Professor George Esper. A renowned journalist and beloved professor, Esper passed away Feb. 2.
The George Esper International Study Enhancement Fund will provide travel support for qualified School of Journalism students participating in an international study abroad project or faculty-led international trip.
“George was a renowned foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, best known for his coverage of the Vietnam War,” said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed. “This fund pays tribute not only to his career but also to the transformative power of an international education and experience.”
Esper, a 1953 WVU alumnus, began his journalism career as a student writing for The Daily Athenaeum and his hometown newspaper, the Morning Herald, in Uniontown, Pa. He went on to spend 42 years with the Associated Press (AP), spending 10 of those years covering the Vietnam War.
Esper earned accolades for his coverage of the Vietnam War and was named bureau chief for his last two years there. With the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese in April 1975, he was one of the last Americans to leave the city. Esper was one of a handful of AP reporters to earn the title of AP Special Correspondent.
After retiring from the AP, Esper returned to his alma mater to teach in the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism in the spring semester of 2000. In the same year, he received an honorary doctorate degree from WVU. He taught writing and reporting, as well as journalism history, and served as a coach and mentor to countless journalism students throughout the years.
“The School of Journalism was a second home to George, and the students became like his family,” said Reed. “He cared passionately about their success in the classroom and beyond and helped many graduates launch their career and lives.”
Those interested in contributing to the George Esper International Study Enhancement Fund should contact Director of Development Luella Gunter at 304-293-6775 or Luella.Gunter@mail.wvu.edu. Gifts can also be mailed to WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism, Martin Hall, 1511 University Ave., P.O. Box 6010, Morgantown, WV 26506. (Please make checks payable to the WVU Foundation, Inc.)
The fund will be administered by the WVU Foundation, the private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University
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CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism