Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2000-02-01

A professor who has helped build one of the largest undergraduate departments at Samford University has received the 2000 George Macon Memorial Award for outstanding performance as a teacher.

Dr. Jon Clemmensen, professor of journalism and mass communication, received the award during the opening convocation of the spring semester January 27. The award is given annually to a faculty member "who through outstanding performance as a teacher, counselor and friend to students demonstrates the ability to inspire students to greatness."

Not only has Clemmensen inspired students to learn his discipline, "he has also been instrumental in shaping and developing the curriculum," noted Samford President Thomas E. Corts in presenting the award.

When Clemmensen joined the Samford faculty in 1985 as chair of the department of journalism, 20 students were studying the subject. This semester, more than 140 students are enrolled in the department of journalism and mass communication, which now offers specialization in advertising, public relations, print and electronic journalism.

Clemmensen, who was once business editor for the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, prepared himself to teach broadcast courses by working as a summer intern at WBRC television.

Samford journalism majors have been unusually successful after graduation at least in part because of Clemmensen’s many hours outside the classroom coaching students preparing for extracurricular competitions, noted Corts. His students regularly win state and regional awards in student broadcast competitions. Graduates work in major television markets in Alabama and throughout the nation.

According to a colleague who nominated him for the award, Clemmensen’s imaginative courses "not only instruct students in the basics of their discipline but inculcate a sense of Christian ethical responsibility that is particularly appropriate at Samford, but rarely emphasized so strongly in the programs at other schools."

A New Jersey native, Clemmensen earned a Bachelor of Arts at Rutgers University, Master of Science in Journalism at Northwestern University and Doctor of Education at the University of South Carolina.

Prior to joining the Samford faculty, he taught at the University of South Carolina and the University of Florida.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.