Cox Center Staff and Students Honor Former Director Dr. Al Hester in June

Cox Center staff and students honored Center Founding Director Dr. Al Hester in early June with a lunch at the University of Georgia Faculty Center following an "unveiling" of a photographic portrait of Hester in the Cox Center.

The photograph of Dr. Hester was hung in the entranceway to the Center in May, near a portrait of James M. Cox Jr., for whom the Center is named, but Dr. Hester first saw his framed likeness at the June gathering.

Current Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker gave Hester a tour of the Center, which doubled its space at the beginning of the 2000-2001 academic year when an adjoining classroom was moved and the space was made available to the Center. Dr. Becker then escorted Dr. Hester to the faculty dining room in Memorial Hall, across the street from the Journalism Building.The Cox Center and the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, of which the Cox Center is a part, are housed in the Journalism Building.

Dr. Hester began operating the Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research in 1985 following approval by the university. The Center added the name of James M. Cox Jr. in 1990 when the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation began supporting the Center.

The Center operates today as a living memorial to James Cox Jr., who, at his death in 1974, was chairman of Cox Enterprises, Inc., of Atlanta.

Dr. Hester retired from the university in August of 1997, and Dr. Becker took over as Center director in September of that year. Dr. Hester is working as a writer and journalist in his retirement and living in Athens, the home to the University of Georgia.

"When I came here four years ago, I thought the Center was a really good idea," Dr. Becker said at the lunch. "In the four years I've been here, I've become even more impressed with what a good idea the Cox Center was."

Dr. Becker told Dr. Hester he is "honored to be following in your footsteps."

Dr. Hester explained the creation of the Center simply: "I always liked working in non-traditional, adult education, and I saw the really great need for journalism and mass communication people to get some kind of training experience."

Dr. Hester described his work in the Center as "a labor of love. I just liked working with media people, and I must say it was very fulfilling."

Others attending the luncheon were Dr. Tudor Vlad, visiting research scientist in the Cox Center, and Cox Center Program Coordinator Kornelia Probst-Mackowiak, as well as graduate and undergraduate students working in the Center.