Organization site - Misc News
Issue: 2/20/01

Buckner inducted
to Hall of Fame

By Napoleon Johnson
Houston Community College

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Dr. Tom Buckner served as president of the Community College Journalism Association (CCJA) in 1992 and was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame on Oct. 26 at the 80th ACP/CMA annual convention in New Orleans.

Retired now, Buckner served as journalism instructor and campus newspaper adviser at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, for 15 years.

He retired in 1999, but what a legacy of accomplishment he leaves behind.

Active in journalism associations at the state and national level, he was recognized in 1993 by College Media Advisers, which presented him with the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser of the Year Award for two-year colleges.

He served as president of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Advisers Association (TIPAA) in the mid-90's and [the Waco chapter of] the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

As outlined in an article on Buckner's career, by Dr. John Neal in the Community College Journalist (Spring/Summer 2000), "Recognition came from other sources, too, including a Teaching Excellence Award presented at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development conference in 1999 and the Edith Fox King Award from Texas's University Interscholastic League (UIL).

"The UIL cited his distinguished contributions and outstanding devotion to scholastic journalism education in Texas. Buckner's honors also include having received McLennan [Community College's] nomination for the Piper Professor Award, a state competition for teaching excellence.

"He put together especially excellent programs for the CCJA portion of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication [AEJMC] convention in Boston in 1991, including an international panel for one session and representatives from Boston-area, free-circulation newspapers for another. Three years after that [Buckner] hosted the Texas Community College Journalism Association convention in Waco, and he was commended by that organization for the overall excellence of the event, which drew 228 participants.

"Buckner's journalism career goes back to 1959, when he began working for his family's newspaper, the San Marcos Record, in San Marcos, Texas, where he stayed until 1975. As the years passed, the paper became the top community newspaper in Texas in terms of circulation and awards, and he worked his way up to editor. Buckner also became a member of the board and treasurer of the Texas Press Association. "I helped draft the bill that became the Texas Open Meetings Act," he said.

Buckner received his bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

"The opportunity to teach a course at Trinity University in San Antonio came along while Buckner was editor of the San Marcos Record, and he enjoyed it so much he later went into teaching on a full-time basis at McLennan."

Buckner's credentials for eligibility for nomination to the CCJA Hall of Fame are impeccable, including having been a member or chair of committees in journalism associations at local, state and national levels; having published numerous articles and papers; having chaired workshops, hosted and helped at conferences, and, generally, having been a local, regional and national leader in community college journalism.

But these things we've listed about Buckner's professional and academic resume tell only part of his story.

And as we said when we started this article, "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy."