Alumni and colleagues from the University of Arizona and University of Nebraska remember Jim Patten, a professor at UA from 1983 to 2000 and department head from 1991 to 2000. He died June 5 in Prescott. (Some of the testimonials are from Facebook.). Click here to read his obit.
UA alums, colleagues and Tucson/Arizona friends
• Morgan Loew (Class of 1996): "Jim Patten was a true champion of Big Journalism, and a heck of a nice guy."
• Jen Duffy ('03): "There are probably two lessons from journalism school that stand out most in my mind. 1. Nothing is unique, not even the Virgin Mary and 2. Question everything, and everyone. And then ask again. Jim Patten encouraged us not only to seek the truth, but also to challenge what we think we know. His mentorship and friendship made a lasting impression in my life and I’m certain many, many others. Rest peacefully my friend. You will be missed."
• Joe Ferguson ('06): "I am sorry to hear about this. He was one of my first professors at the UofA and I owe a lot to the lessons he taught me all those years ago.
• Gabrielle Fimbres ('85): "Prof. Patten was my first journalism professor and a true mentor and newsman. Sending love to Jim’s family."
• Kristy Hickson-Gerke ('93): "One of my first J professors as well! Prayers to his family, friends and colleagues. This has been a rough year! He is the third professor from my years at the J school that has passed. My heart is sad, but their wisdom is forever in my brain. Ex. Automatic E!"
Nebraska alums and colleagues
• Shelley Smith (reporter at ESPN): "Breaks my heart. He was so inspirational, a great newsman and teacher. Love to his family."
• Mary Jo Pitzl: (Arizona Republic reporter and Nebraska alumna): "Tears. I am a lifelong practicing journalist because of Jim. Those darn obits-for-errors drills worked! Condolences to Mike, Susan, Rebecca and other family."
• Sylvia Lee Wingfield: "So sad to hear of Jim’s passing. He guided me at the University of Nebraska to a career that brought lifelong challenge and satisfaction. He was an inspiring teacher who insisted on the best from, and for, his students, and his kind encouragement didn’t end with graduation."
• Rick Alloway: Sad news for the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications family. Jim was the first journalism faculty member I met with when I started my studies at UNL in the fall of 1973. He was always kind and gracious. I was blessed we became reacquainted via social media in the last few years. He was a fine man, and I am honored to teach in the same place he did for so many years.
• Chris Harper: "I think all of us hope that we will remembered for the impact, toughness, and kindness Jim taught us. As a journalist for 20 years, I used everything he taught me. As a journalism educator for 20 years, I used everything he taught me. As a human being, I used everything he taught me for more than 40 years! He made a huge mark on many of us. I hope I get 10 percent of the accolades I see here when I go."
• Claire Wiksell Markovsky: "Oh I'm so sad to hear this. I have the best memories of classes with Professor Patten -- he truly made my college experience memorable. He was incredibly kind and really cared for his students -- well after they graduated. He will be sorely missed. My deepest condolences to his family."
• Susan Ihne Yennez: "He was my advisor when I started in the fall of 1973 -- and he helped me the next 35 years thru a career in newspapers. His reaction when I told him I had acquired a summer internship after my sophomore year: I'll buy you a dictionary if you'll use it!"
• Rex Seline: "Oh no. I called him “Coach” because “Professor Patten” seemed too formal. And he was more than a teacher."
• Jimmie D. Davis: "I team taught classes with Jim 1967-69. He was an excellent professional journalist with a great empathy for his students. We had recently reconnected. My condolences to his family."
• Mary Fastenau: "My heart breaks. Like so many of you, he had a huge impact on my life. He believed in this farm kid when I didn't believe in myself. He shaped my life in amazing ways."
• Joe Hudson: "So sorry to hear this. Jim was, I think, the only professor I kept in touch with over the years. He took pride in being both a journalism prof and a journalism pro."