My farewell address

By Jeff Lyon

As many of you know, I will be leaving Columbia this June after 28 years. The memories I am taking with me are mostly good ones. 

I estimate that I have touched the lives of some 2,000 journalism students in that time, a source of great satisfaction to me. Many of them have gone on to successful media careers, and I hope I’ve played at least some small role in that success. 

Conversely, some may have gone into other professions, having recognized that journalism is not their thing, and if I had any role in that decision, I consider that something of value as well.

Most dear to me have been the past eight years during which I have been faculty adviser to this great newspaper. The opportunity to work with so many talented, intensely dedicated young people as they hone their craft by putting out what is widely regarded as one of the finest college papers in the country will always be special to me. I will even miss the late Friday nights and the vanishing budgets and the never-ending battle to get college officials to stop running for cover when The Chronicle calls.

This seems like strange behavior when they should be lining up to talk to student reporters, given the transcendent importance of freedom of expression to the cause of higher education. On the flip side, maybe having to cope with tight-lipped sources is an instructive experience for aspiring journalists who will face a titanic struggle to sift out the truth in a society ever-more dedicated to spin, branding and image. 

I need to stop before I start warning against foreign entanglements. All I can say is thank you, Columbia, for some great times. And thanks, too, to my wonderful friends and colleagues, including the wondrous Chris Richert, the always vigilant Stephanie Goldberg and that most human of beings, Len Strazewski. I will miss you all.