L. Boyd Finch

L. Boyd Finch (’47) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

If I have any claim to being unique, it may date to days at the University of Arizona as a journalism major. At that time, 1944-47, the Wildcat was closely linked to the journalism “department” faculty which consisted of one professor, Jack O’Connor. I was one of the few journalism majors–maybe 15 at the most–who were O’Connor’s last class and (a year and a half later) Doug Martin’s first class. In between those events we were at loose ends with no formal department faculty, just Don Philips of the university’s two-person public info office, an English prof and a prof from Business and Public Administration (an advertising course).

The Wildcat office also had a unique existence. My first year (a sophomore) the paper office and journalism classroom was a high-ceilinged room in the campus heating plant, behind the engineering building. On one high wall was a mural, “Power of the Press” may have been its name. It depicted the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, painted by Ted DeGrazia a few years earlier. For the next two years the paper and the department had a double-sized room on the ground floor of the revamped Old Main.

When I was managing editor and Barbara Herman was editor we were called on the carpet in the office of President Alfred Atkinson. Our offense: the paper had published a story about football players breaking into the campus mimeograph office where all tests were duplicated (a far cry from today’s technology). So much for freedom of the press

L. Boyd Finch is author of “Legacies of Camelot: Stewart and Lee Udall, American Culture, and the Arts,” published this year. Stewart Udall–JFK’s Secretary of the Interior–was a fellow University of Arizona graduate. Drawing on his years in politics and government service, as well as his friendship with Udall, Boyd offers an insider’s view of the cultural transformation Udall and his wife brought to Washington DC during the Kennedy years and beyond.

Born in Galesburg, Ill., Boyd Finch earned his journalism degree from the UofA and served as managing editor of the Wildcat. He also worked nights for the Arizona Daily Star. After receiving a master’s in political science from Stanford University, he joined the staff of the Tulare (Calif.) Advance-Register. He spent a year studying congress as a Congressional Fellow and several more years as a reporter and deskman at the Star Free Press in Ventura, Calif.

After running unsuccessfully for Congress, Boyd entered government service with the Department of the Interior in 1961, eventually joining the National Park Service where he became associate regional director for the Southeast region, which included 54 parks from Kentucky to the Virgin Islands.

Boyd retired to Tucson with his wife Polly and launched a career researching and writing about Western history. He has chaired the University of Arizona Friends of the Library, Westerners’ Corrals, and publications committees of the Arizona Historical Society and Western National Parks Association.

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