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Dr. Ed C. Lambert, Missouri Broadcast Pioneer, Honored in Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Print E-mail
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Story and photo submitted by Colin Kilpatrick, Executive Director of advancement, Missouri School of Journalism with assistance from Ed Lambert's youngest daughter, Barbara Lambert, who attended Lab School and graduated from Hickman H.S. in 1965

Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 27, 2008) -- More than a half century after changing the face of broadcast news in mid-Missouri, Dr. Edward C. Lambert is being honored by former students, family and friends with a named endowment and seminar room in the new Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Journalism professor who founded KOMU-TV/Channel 8 in 1953 and will provide funding for RJI, which brings together citizens and journalists to improve the practice and understanding of journalism. KOMU-TV is the only university-owned commercial television affiliate in the world used as a training lab for students.

The Edward C. Lambert Innovation Endowment pays tribute to the former Missouri A seminar room within the Reynolds Journalism Institute will be named for Lambert to recognize the philanthropic contributions of those who created the endowment. The Edward C. Lambert Seminar Room, 200-A, will be dedicated at 3:45 p.m., Sept. 11, in the Institute during the centennial celebration of the Missouri School of Journalism.

"Professor Lambert was a pioneer in broadcast journalism," said Dean Mills, dean of the School. "We are delighted with the generosity of those who wish to preserve his legacy at the Missouri School of Journalism. His innovative spirit will live on in the important work of the Reynolds Journalism Institute."

Two 1971 graduates of the School, Paul Fiddick, president of Emmis International, and Mike Wheeler, a partner with Westerly Partners, approached the School in early 2008 with the idea to honor their former mentor.

"Ed Lambert was, as they say, truly a gentleman and a scholar," said Fiddick. "Naming the Lambert Seminar Room has been a labor of love. The response from Ed's friends, family and former students was immediate, generous and heartwarming."

Lambert attended colleges in Kansas and Iowa, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees before enlisting in the military. Because he wanted to be involved with radio, the Navy sent him to the Harvard School of Communications. He served as a lieutenant commander in both the European and Pacific fronts in World War II. Lambert was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of Lt. Commander. His specialty was communications.

Later that year, Lambert moved to Columbia, Mo., with his wife, Ella, to pursue broadcast journalism. While teaching at Stephens College he worked on his doctorate at the Missouri School of Journalism under his friend and mentor, Dean Frank Luther Mott. Lambert's dissertation was titled "The Future of Television." A year later he joined the Missouri School of Journalism as an associate professor. Lambert finished his doctoral degree in 1953 and, as a full professor, proposed to then-MU President Frederick Middlebush the idea of bringing television to central Missouri while being able to teach students at the station. Middlebush agreed and appointed Lambert assistant to the president in charge of television and head of the broadcast sequence. On Dec. 21, 1953, KOMU went on the air.

Lambert was the station's first general manager and also moderated "Missouri Forum," a public affairs show that he developed and hosted for more than 20 years. Lambert retired in 1980 after 34 years of service. In 1989, he received the School's most coveted honor, the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Lambert died in 1999, but his legacy of innovation lives on through this newly created endowment.

"More than 50 years ago, Dr. Lambert brought a vision to the Journalism School with the concept of launching KOMU to serve as a real-life learning laboratory for broadcast journalism students," Wheeler said. "It seems only fitting that as the Reynolds Journalism Institute provides a platform for the visions of succeeding generations of journalists, that Dr. Lambert be recognized and remembered with such a beautiful and inspiring venue named in his honor."

The dedication is one of many activities planned for the Sept. 10-12 centennial/dedication event, which will feature more than 35 Futures Forum sessions, 27 Technology Summit sessions, two evening meal events, four musical and theatrical performances, 11 exhibits and displays, book signings, tours and numerous networking opportunities. Alumni, students, citizens, journalists, communicators and academics from all over the world have registered for the three-day event. Visit http://journalism.missouri.edu/2008/ for more information.

The Edward C. Lambert Innovation Endowment supports 100 by 100: The Centennial Campaign for the Missouri School of Journalism. The campaign seeks to raise endowments to strengthen Missouri's position as the world's premier school of journalism. Outright contributions, estate commitments and planned gifts such as charitable trusts and gift annuities made before Dec. 31, 2008, will be recognized in the campaign total.

About the Missouri School of Journalism and Reynolds Journalism Institute:

Since publishing the student-staffed University Missourian on Sept. 14, 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism has been the international leader in hands-on journalism education, also known as the "Missouri Method." The first to offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the field, the School is also the distinguished home of several national journalism organizations, mid-career professional programs and a thriving research agenda. Its advanced curriculum takes advantage of new technologies and practices, a tradition of innovation that will be intensified with the opening of the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI). This 50,000 square-foot facility, created with an initial $31 million gift from the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, will house state-of-the-art resources to test and demonstrate new technologies, experiment with convergence news production and delivery systems, and conduct real-time and virtual seminars and conferences

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Memories of my late father, Ed Lambert

By Barbara (Lambert) Reichel

Norris and I go back to Columbia and the campus a lot while we are in town to visit Mom but this was such a special event that it is very difficult to put into words.

We were contacted by Mike Wheeler (Daddy's graduate assistant in class of 1971) and Paul Fiddick (Mike's roommate) who was also one of Daddy's students early in the summer when they were just beginning the project to honor Daddy. At that time we were overwhelmed about the idea! What a privilege to be able to help make this living memorial to Daddy a success. Both Norris and I worked with Mike and Paul and in the end his students, friends and family honored his memory with over $300,000 for the Endowment Fund and Seminar Room. :-)

Upon arriving in Columbia in September we checked in at the Holiday Inn and went over to investigate the new building and campus. We were looking for a place we could meet the nurse we had hired for my Mom so we could meet them easily.

We hadn't planned to stop but when we got there it was such a beautiful day we parked and walked through the basement of Neff Hall . Memories of the old printing presses that used to exist in the hollows flooded both of us and when we entered we both realized that the presses were gone. When we stopped to ask directions to Reynolds Hall the young students didn't even know the presses had been there. To our amazement, the paper is not even printed on the campus any more!

We then walked upstairs and toward Walter William Hall because I wanted to see Daddy's old office which was located on the second story. As we got to the top of the stairs I looked and lo and behold Daddy's old office is now a ladies room! I walked in and just stood there, imaging where his desk was and a lady that was washing her hands looked at me and said, "If you need the toilets, the are over to your right"...I told her it used to be my Daddy's office and she looked at me as if I had said a very crazy thing...it was funny but made me a little sad...I didn't tell Mommy.

The new Reynolds building is connected to Walter Williams and it has been so nicely done that it all blends. If you hadn't ever been in that area before you would never know which was old and which was new!

The Dr. Edward C. Lambert Seminar Room that was dedicated for Daddy is only a few feet from his old office and overlooks his beloved Quadrangle. It is spacious and bright and will have a portrait of Daddy hanging in it along with a biography of his life and insight into Broadcast Journalism and KOMU TV. When I looked out the window at the columns I could envision myself rolling down the slopes of those columns as a little girl while waiting for the ROTC parade that took place after school every Friday. In those days it didn't matter if you walked or rolled on the grass or sat on the sides of the columns!

The Dedication itself was AWESOME! So many of Daddy's old students came, each one taking us aside and telling us how Daddy had touched their life in a very special and personal way that it was breath taking. He left a tremendous legacy and everyone that came back to honor him was proof of that legacy. It was even more special because my Mom was there and also my husband of thirty-eight years, Norris, since I met him while he was one of my Daddy's assistants and because he loved my Daddy, too.

 

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"Ella is now 94, suffering from Dementia but she was all there that day and knew everyone that came to the Dedication! She held their hands and kissed them (she was in a wheel chair, as you can see from the photos)...to this day she can still tell you who was there. She told Norris and me that we had "brought her home".

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Ed Lambert in front of the mike

I remember Ed Lambert, of course, as do we all. I can remember when he came to UHigh when the KOMU tower was being built, probably about 1954, and gave a talk about plans for Channel 8. At that time (maybe still), that tower was the tallest thing between St. Louis and Kansas City. As a personal note, I went on to M.U. after my Junior year at U-High and graduated with a degree in Journalism in 1961.

David Brown, U-High class 1958

Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri Alumni Magazine, April 1953

 

 

 

 

 

 
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