The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication proudly sponsored the unveiling of the Hugh Downs Collection on December 1, 2014.
Hugh Downs is one of the most familiar American figures in the history of television and still holds the Guinness world record for the most hours of network airtime in the 20th century (10,637 hours from 1951-1999).
Mr. Downs chose Arizona State University to house more than 650 of his personal and professional items – from lifetime achievement awards and Emmys to his mother’s poetry book.
The Hugh Downs Collection is intended to promote the pursuit of undergraduate and graduate studies related to the field of human communication, promote constructive dialogue and scholarly research related to the life and career of the school’s distinguished namesake, and generally promote the effective communication between individuals in all aspects of life.
Hugh and Ruth Downs celebrated the unveiling of the collection with guests such as Lattie Coor, president of ASU when the school was named, and Bill Shover, formerly of the Arizona Republic, who asked Downs if he would lend his name to the school.
Former President Lattie Coor stated that “When the program of communication at ASU was clearly building the reputation, the capacity, and the kind of plan to become a school, we knew we wanted to name the school for someone who represented in every respect the qualities of human communication and Hugh Downs was the name by a country mile.”
“I was overwhelmed with the honor of having a school named after me and I have had so much satisfaction and gratification being connected with ASU in this way. I didn’t realize until then that I had been devoted to communication of some sort for quite a while in broadcasting because if you don’t make yourself clear, then you are not communicating,” said Hugh Downs.
Downs stated that “one of the most gratifying experiences I was involved in a few years ago was a graduate level course that had started at 7:00 p.m. and ended about 1:30 a.m. because the students had the best questions I have ever been asked.”
During a question and answer session at the unveiling, a graduating Communication major asked Downs, “What type of communication skill advanced you on the journey of all the successes you have had? What piece of advice do you have to move forward in life?”
Downs answered, “All life is plan B. Plan A just doesn’t always count. So be flexible when you go into something in case it doesn’t pan out.” “
Hugh Downs is an exemplar of the ways in which people who really understand communication create meaningful lives and careers for themselves,” said Linda Lederman, director of the school.
“Hugh understands communication in all aspects of life as a scientist, broadcaster and musician. In this way, he reflects the school’s vision to explore communication in everyday life, from families to work and from religion to culture,” Lederman said.
The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication is aptly named for a man with a passion for life-long learning, a commitment to (and appreciation of) the role of communication in human interactions, and an ability to communicate effectively whether with one person or large and diverse groups. It all begins with good communication . . .
Hugh Downs celebrates unveiling of memorabilia collection ASU News 12/19/2014
Hugh Downs Collection finds home at ASU ASUNews 12/12/2013
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