Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Former Michigan State School of Journalism director Stan Soffin dies at the age of 78

July 13, 2020
<p>MSU Ombudsman Stan Soffin stands by the door of his office in North Kedzie Hall, an office he has occupied for 13 years. Now, after 43 years of MSU affiliation, Soffin will retire. He will step down from his role as ombudsman on Aug. 15, 2011, and will spend the following year in a consulting role for the Office of the Ombudsman.</p>

MSU Ombudsman Stan Soffin stands by the door of his office in North Kedzie Hall, an office he has occupied for 13 years. Now, after 43 years of MSU affiliation, Soffin will retire. He will step down from his role as ombudsman on Aug. 15, 2011, and will spend the following year in a consulting role for the Office of the Ombudsman.

Photo by Kat Petersen | The State News

Former Michigan State School of Journalism director and University Ombudsman Stan Soffin died July 9 at the age of 78.

Soffin began his tenure at MSU in 1968 in the School of Journalism and became the school’s director in 1982 to 1998, while also serving as the fourth University Ombudsman until 2011. After his retirement, Soffin was honored in 1998 by being inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2010 by being inducted into The State News Hall of Fame. Accredited with much of the School of Journalism’s success, Soffin received praise from current and former Spartans from the school.

"Stan was a terrific leader, educator and scholar, who played a critical role in shaping journalism research and education at Michigan State University," Prabu David, dean of MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, said. "He was admired by the Spartan community for his thoughtfulness and kindness." 

"Our Spartan family lost a true leader and special person this week with the passing of Dr. Stan Soffin," R. Matt Davis, a member of the Alumni Executive Board for MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, said. "He always put his students first. He had an indelible impact on our world. Personally, I would not have been a Spartan without the encouragement from Dr. Soffin. He was also the one who connected me to my first Journalism internship and my first job when I graduated from MSU. I owe a large part of my professional and personal success to him. He made me feel special. But he made every one of his students feel the same! He brought out the best in everyone. I will miss my coach, my mentor, my dear friend. The world needs more people like Dr. Stan Soffin.”

In 2011, when Soffin retired, praise came to him from each corner of MSU. Former Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and Professor in the School of Journalism Stephen Lacy was one to praise Soffin during his retirement in 2011 for making the School of Journalism what it is today.

“He was a great director of the (School of Journalism),” Lacy said. “In the 100 years of the (school), there were three (directors) that really affected the school — he took what was a very strong regional program and turned it into a very strong national program.”

Soffin accomplished many things in his 43 years at MSU including bringing in distinguished faculty, 13 new scholarships for the School of Journalism, and partnering with many programs such as the Knight Chair in Journalism, who gave the journalism program a $1 million and a $2 million grant, the Hispanics in Journalism Program that gave resources to young Hispanic students looking to break through in the journalism field, the Victims and the Media Program and the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association that taught high school journalism teachers more skills.

As University Ombudsman, Soffin developed the office’s website into a campus resource for students and created an online-problem report form, all while also serving on the Board of Directors of the University and College Ombudsman Association.

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