In memoriam: Mickie Edwardson
Mickie Newbill Edwardson, professor emeritus at the College and woman of many firsts, died May 15, 2010, in Gainesville after a series of health complications. She was 80.
“Mickie was one of the most beloved and important faculty members in the history of our College,” said Dean John Wright, who worked with Edwardson for decades. “She was always eager to help her students and colleagues. She was one of those faculty members you can never really replace.”
Edwardson was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas State College for Women, master’s from Stanford University and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
In 1958, Edwardson became the first female faculty member at the College. That year, she also became a producer and director at the then newly established UF PBS station, WUFT-TV.
“Onto the stage of faculty leadership at UF some 50 years ago stepped Mickie Newbill, fresh from Texas, eager to become a player in the brand-new field of educational television,” Dean Emeritus Ralph Lowenstein said during her memorial service at the University Auditorium on the UF campus. “As a faculty member in this experimental system,” he said, “Mickie had an additional barrier to overcome.”
Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, Edwardson directed the Radio Center and taught a variety of courses in the Department of Telecommunication.
“She also helped design most of the broadcasting curriculum in the College,” Lowenstein noted.
In 1981, she had a hand in establishing WUFT-FM, North Central Florida’s public radio station.
After 27 years of working at UF, Edwardson was the first female recognized as a Distinguished Service Professor.
In 1994, she retired from UF and worked on “Mr. Fly,” a biography of James Lawrence Fly, ACLU director and FCC commissioner. She published several articles from this research.
Edwardson and her husband, John R. Edwardson, established James Lawrence Fly Fund for graduate students in telecommunication.
In 2002, John died at the age of 79. He was an emeritus professor in UF’s Agronomy Department.
Edwardson is survived by three children, George Edwardson, Venice; Elizabeth Allen, Sarasota; Sarah Edwardson, Fort Myers; a sister Juanice Myers and brother H. Dub Newbill of Texas, and a large extended family.
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