UT honors Walter Cronkite with memorial


Shea Carley

Above Kingfish, a sculpture by Peter Reginato, construction workers install projectors for a new public art installation on the roof of the William Randolph Hearst building Tuesday afternoon. The art installation will be featured in a dedication to Walter Cronkite in front of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex.

Rachel Thompson

In the 1930s, famed journalist Walter Cronkite walked the 40 Acres as a college student, fraternity member and Daily
Texan writer .

Cronkite went on to have an extraordinary career in journalism, serving as the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News and winning numerous prestigious awards throughout his life. UT will dedicate the Walter Cronkite Plaza in front of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex in his memory on April 19.

Nick Hundley, director of communications for the College of Communication, said the dedication will feature a new public art installation by artist Ben Rubin, titled “And That’s the Way It Is,” in honor of Cronkite. Hundley said the College worked with Landmarks, the University’s public art program, to commission the art installation.

“And That’s the Way It Is” will project text drawn from Cronkite’s archived broadcasts as well as daily news, Hundley said, and will be visible to anyone walking by.

“The College of Communication is honoring the traditional values of journalism that Walter Cronkite epitomized — accuracy, courage, independence and integrity,” Hundley said.

Hundley said other departments on campus contributed to the project, including the School of Information and the Briscoe Center for American History, which compiled archived transcripts from its Walter Cronkite papers.

School of Journalism associate director Wanda Garner Cash said the dedication commemorates one of UT’s most distinguished former students.

“Even though [Cronkite] has been out of journalism for a long time, his name still denotes strong commitment to the core journalism values we’re trying to inspire in our students,” she said.

Frank Serpas, Texas Student Media operations manager, said the technical equipment needed for the projection is still being installed before it’s revealed in a couple of weeks. Six projectors are installed on the roof of the building, he said, and construction teams had to drill into the roof to run power through it.

Communication Council President Patrick White said he feels the Cronkite dedication will serve as a source of pride for the College of Communication, as well as the rest of the University.

“It gives a sense of credibility to what we do in a very soft way,” he said. “Walter Cronkite is a name that is known nationally, and I think it lives up to the hopes and desires we have for our majors, especially journalism.”

Printed on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 as: Cronkite honored with plaza dedication