Raymond Nixon, a retired University journalism professor and international communications scholar, died Dec. 15 in Bloomington, Minn. He was 94.
Nixon, who retired in 1971, was often referred to as the “senior statesman,” and his colleagues thought of him as a person who was very warm, compassionate and formal, said Phil Tichenor, a former colleague and student.
“His voice was one that always had a ring of total authority,” Tichenor said. “When he spoke, people listened — when he lectured he left students taking copious notes.”
Nixon received his doctorate degree in political science and journalism from the University in 1942. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University and the University of Wisconsin, respectively.
After an extensive career in professional journalism and teaching, Nixon joined the faculty at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1952.
At the University, Nixon also served as a chairman for the University Committee in Intercultural Communications and was a member of the University Senate, where he served on the Committee of Business and Rules.
Leslie Hollister, Nixon’s daughter, said her father loved to foster personal relationships with his students outside of the classroom, particularly international students, whom he helped beyond scholastics.
He and his wife often had students over for dinner; his wife even helped one couple find a place to live upon their arrival here, Hollister said.
“He took the students under his wing and helped them get along,” she said. She added that he maintained close relationships with many of his students for a long time after they had left the University.
In addition to his interest in helping international students, Nixon had a passion for international travel.
His interests in international communications and his relationships with the United States Department of State and the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, took him around the world. He visited many countries in areas such as Latin America, Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East.
During his extensive travels around the world, particularly throughout the south and central Americas, Nixon aided many countries in establishing journalism studies programs.
“He was a pioneer in journalism education,” Hollister said.
For his breakthrough work Nixon was awarded the Medal of Honor in Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1974.
Aside from his teaching, Nixon wrote prolifically about international communications and comparative foreign journalism, freedom and control in national press systems, and newspaper ownership.