After 31 years as a presence across the national student media landscape, Mark Woodhams, director of Arizona Student Media and adviser to The Daily Wildcat for more than two decades, will retire from his current post at the University of Arizona at the end of February.
Family, friends, students, former colleagues and any of the so many others impacted by his work are invited to a celebration of Mark’s career in student media on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Bodega, 4340 N Campbell Avenue (St. Philip’s Plaza) in Tucson, 3:30 – 6:00, with a special presentation at 4:30. We’d be most grateful for an RSVP via either our Facebook event page or on EventBrite.
Mark and his family arrived in Tucson 22 years ago, after nine years in a similar role at Northeastern University in Boston. He’s revered by students and our professional staff alike for his direct, often brutally honest, approach, his ability to balance the historical expectations of strong journalism with the demands for innovation in an ever-changing media landscape and his commitment to the future of this department – let alone opportunities for young journalists across the board.
As we look forward to celebrating with Mark in the coming weeks, here are a few words from the man himself on what working in student media has meant to him:
(Via Facebook) “… The past three decades have been a great ride. I have been exceedingly privileged — beyond what you can imagine — to have worked alongside so many outrageously talented students. For some of them this may be hard to believe (given my sometimes crusty and curmudgeonly reputation), but they have rewarded me many times over. And what a tribute to the essence of their work on their college newspaper to see so many be successful professionally across lots of fields, not just journalism … So I guess you could call “no fair.” Students have done all the work and I’ve just sat back and loved every minute of it …
“… But the reality is that come March 1 a new era will begin, and I have every reason to see it as a really positive time for new energy and creativity around the Wildcat and all our student media. One thing will always remain: students are drawn to working on their college newspaper (we’ll use newspaper as shorthand for the multiple platform news organizations they have become) for the kind of compelling, independent and rewarding hands-on experience that they cannot get in a class or at an internship. It’s what makes the student press central not just to the future of journalism but also to the educational mission of a great university.”