Journalism educator William Page Pitt(November 19, 1900-September 13, 1980) was born in New York City. He moved with his family to Shinnston, Harrison County, when he was 12. As a teenager, he worked summers in a coal mine. He graduated from Muskingum College, Ohio, in 1925 and taught for a year at Glendale College, Ohio. He later earned a master’s degree at Columbia University in New York.
In 1926, when Pitt arrived in Huntington to join the faculty of what was then Marshall College, he found one journalism class with five students. In his 45-year career at Marshall, he built its journalism program into one with dozens of classes, hundreds of students, and a reputation for excellence. Today, Marshall University’s W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications is named in his honor.
A legendary figure on the Marshall campus, Pitt often was referred to as the ‘‘Grand Old Man of Journalism,’’ a title the West Virginia Senate made official in a proclamation issued when he retired in 1971. After the age of five, Pitt was sightless in one eye and had only three percent vision in the other. Nonetheless, he refused to let himself be handicapped by his vision problem. Not only a successful college educator, he was a prolific writer whose byline frequently appeared in national magazines and newspapers. After his retirement, Pitt moved to Stuart, Florida, where he died.
This Article was written by James E. Casto
Last Revised on October 22, 2010