JEM Professor Paul Ashdown retired at the end of the fall semester after 35 ½ years of distinguished service to the School of Journalism and Electronic Media (JEM), the College of Communication and Information and the University of Tennessee. Upon his retirement, Dr. Ashdown became a Professor Emeritus in JEM.
Although he is now retired, Ashdown will continue to contribute to the intellectual life of the school and university by teaching an occasional class and working to complete his next book (co-authored with JEM Professor Ed Caudill), which focuses on George Armstrong Custer and the media. Previous titles co-authored by Ashdown and Caudill include: The Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest, The Mosby Myth: A Confederate Hero in Life and Legend and Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory. Ashdown is also the author of A Cold Mountain Companion and author/editor of James Agee: Selected Journalism, and Complete Journalism: Articles, Book Reviews, and Manuscripts, v.II. in The Works of James Agee.
“I’m still in touch with lots of former students, some from 40 years ago, so it’s a continuing education,” said Ashdown. “I tell them they are still under warranty.”
JEM Director Peter Gross remarked, “Dr. Ashdown will be remembered as a superb teacher, outstanding scholar, and even more importantly, a valued colleague.” CCI Dean Mike Wirth added, “Paul Ashdown’s contributions to the school, college and university have been remarkable. We wish him all the best in his retirement!”
Ashdown received a B.S. in journalism and an M.A. in journalism and communications from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in radio/TV/film and popular culture from Bowling Green State University. Prior to becoming a university professor, he was a correspondent with United Press International in Miami and Atlanta, a reporter with the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, a copy editor with the Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer, and an information officer with the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Ashdown previously taught at the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University, Pueblo), the University of Toledo and Western Kentucky University. He was a visiting professor at the School of Journalism in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and The University of Bonn, Germany. He studied and lectured in India in 1995 on a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. He also received a UT National Alumni Association Teaching Award. He is a Chancellor’s Teaching Scholar, a winner of the Robert Cherry Foundation’s national award for extraordinary teachers, a UT Macebearer (UT’s highest faculty award) and a winner of UT’s Alexander Prize. He also received College awards for both teaching and research.