The Wright Era

Published: January 18th, 2013

Category: Highlight, Winter 2013

John Wright

For the past six years, John W. Wright II has led the UF College of Journalism and Communications. Although the years have been marked by a tumultuous economy and significant changes in the journalism and communications industry, the College has emerged all the stronger under his leadership. A reflection on his service in the words of his colleagues:

“John has done an outstanding job for the college during his five-year tenure as dean. From the creation of the Center for Media Innovation + Research to the development of the Division of Multimedia Properties, his legacy is one to be proud of. Because of John, the college will continue to be a major player in the rapidly changing media world.”
—Bernie Machen
President, University of Florida

“John was instrumental in working together with Marion Brechner when I arrived at the College in 2009 to help launch and sustain the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project. John’s vision, coupled with Marion’s remarkable generosity, have allowed the First Amendment Project to file multiple briefs with the United States Supreme Court in major free expression controversies and to have a place at the table in many media law conferences across the United States.”
—Clay Calvert
Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project

“Every dean of the College of Journalism and Communications should have the twin goals of improving the educational opportunities for the citizens of the state of Florida and raising the reputation of the College to a higher level. John Wright has had an outstanding record in both categories — moving the College solidly into the digital age of communications education and revolutionizing the role of our media properties in service to our students and North Central Florida. Under John’s leadership, the educational and broadcasting facilities of the College have clearly become the best in the nation.”
—Ralph Lowenstein
Dean Emeritus

“During John’s tenure, the College has moved forward in exciting ways, particularly in responding to the digital environment that the various industries we serve find themselves in. We have launched bold initiatives in distance education and innovative partnerships with industry, the public sector, and international entities. Because of his leadership, the College facilities and curricula have been modernized so that faculty and students can teach, learn and produce research and creative activities that are the standard bearer within our professions and academe around the globe. ”
—Linda Hon
Executive Associate Dean and Professor of Public Relations

“John has been about our students and ensuring their future is as bright as it can be and that the connection they make with the College lasts a lifetime. So many of our alums return astounded by what’s happened in recent years at the College and none of that would have been possible if not for John’s vision and support.”
—Randy Wright
Executive Director, Division of Multimedia Properties

“John did the College a big favor by becoming dean six years ago. His soft-spoken, collegial, yet assertive leadership style allowed the College to not just survive, but also flourish.”

“When I think of John as dean, I think of his accessibility and willingness to listen to new ideas. John did the College a big favor by becoming dean six years ago. His soft-spoken, collegial, yet assertive leadership style allowed the College to not just survive, but also flourish. The building looks a lot different now than it did when he became dean, with the 21st Century News Laboratory, the AHA! CoLab and especially the integrated news facility. That’s quite an improvement.”
—James Babanikos
Associate Professor of Telecommunication and chair of the College Faculty Senate

He has a wonderful open-door policy. His support of our graduate education programs helped put our doctorate program in the Top 10 of UF’s Ph.D. programs. He always has the best interests of the College at heart and has steered us successfully through the worst financial challenges we have ever faced.”
—Debbie Treise
Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Professor of Advertising

“John Wright is a great boss. He listens. He is interested. And he keeps the welfare of students as his top priority. That’s my kind of dean.”
–Mike Foley
Master Lecturer of Journalism and Hugh Cunningham Professor in Journalism Excellence

“John has been an industry leader in pursuing student diversity initiatives and expanding scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students. Under his leadership, the College has become nationally recognized for its student diversity and financial support for all students. “
–Charles Harris
Director of Knight Division for Scholarships, Career Services & Multicultural Affairs