The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Department of Communication announced the passing of Dr. David Sachsman, the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs.
The announcement to campus was made by Provost Jerold Hale. Felicia McGhee, head of the Department of Communication, penned the following tribute.
For the last 30 years, Dr. Sachsman has been a valuable member of the university and the department. He regularly taught the department’s Senior Seminar and a course in Public Communication and Environmental Issues, touching the lives of thousands of communication majors.
His contributions to scholarship in the fields of environmental communication, environmental risk reporting, and journalism history are eminence.
He published 23 books and dozens of articles covering a range of topics including journalism history, environmental communication, journalism, and mass communication. At the time of his death, Dr. Sachsman was working on his 24th book.
As the West Chair of Excellence, Dr. Sachsman hosted an annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression. Started in 1993, the symposium created a supportive environment for scholars studying a range of topics related to U.S. mass media of the 19th century, the Civil War in fiction and history, and freedom of expression in the 19th century. Dr. Sachsman was particularly proud of how the symposium fostered new scholars, with many first attending as graduate students and then continuing to participate in the conference as their career progressed. Since 2000, work from the symposium has been published in eight books edited by Dr. Sachsman, as well as dozens of other publications created by symposium attendees.
Dr Sachsman joined UTC in 1991. Before coming to UTC, he was the founding dean of the School of Communications at California State University, Fullerton from 1988 to 1991, and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Media at Rutgers University from 1983 to 1988. He was also a Senior Fulbright-Hays Scholar in the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Dr. Sachsman had over 50 years of teaching experience, having taught at these institutions as well as at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and at California State University, Haywood.
Dr. Sachsman earned a Ph.D. in Public Affairs Communication and a master’s degree in Communication from Stanford University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sachsman leaves behind his wife Judy, daughter Suzanne, son Jonathan, and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.