Clarence Page – Hall of Famer

Clarence Page - OU Post 1968I got an email from an Erin Roberts, External Relations Coordinator, Scripps College of Communications, at Ohio University this week. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

Anyway, she wrote, “Andy Alexander let me know that you were a student photographer while he and Clarence Page were both writers with the Post. I am currently working on a short photo montage honoring Clarence, as he will be inducted into the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame on campus later this month. Do you have photos from that time of Clarence that might aid me in the presentation?”

I think I can come up with a few

Mark Roth - Clarence Page - Andy Alexander OU Post Staff 09-26-1968Oh, boy do I ever. Of course, when the Hall of Fame gets wind of student reporter Clarence, they may make a last-minute shuffle in their choice. Maybe I shouldn’t bring up the story about how Clarence got the publisher of The Athens Messenger hauled out of bed in the wee hours of the morning.

Clarence and the F-word

Ohio University Post staffer Clarence Page 09-26-1968Here’s Clarence’s version of what happened:

Kenner Bush, [publisher of The Athens Messenger, which printed The Post] told me the typesetters woke him up in the morning, poised to walk out rather than print my uncensored reporting of the F-word that brought a student into conflict with an 1812 Athens code. OU President Vernon Alden wasn’t happy either, to say the least. As some of you will vividly recall, our generation of Posties was pushed to the brink of expulsion and gazed over the edge before we were yanked back amid a burst of national publicity.

Clarence was born June 2, 1947, in Dayton. After his graduation from Ohio University in 1969, the Army got its mitts on him for a short period of time, then he went to work for The Chicago Tribune. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1989.

Today, a much rounder-faced Clarence shows up on political talk shows trying to bring some light to the heat.

Ohio College Newspaper Association President

Clarence Page - ONPA President 04-15-1968The Post did quite well in Ohio College Newspaper Association competition in 1968. Clarence was elected president of the association.

When Carol Towarnicky and I got together this fall to do a presentation on the birth of the student rights movement at Ohio University, we traded “remember when?” stories. She implied that she and I engaged in some shenanigans that helped get Clarence elected president. She claims that she and I climbed on the roof of the hotel where the conference was being held and hoisted a bed sheet with a Page campaign slogan on it from the building’s flagpole.

Now, climbing on rooftops and water towers is something I did frequently, but I disavow any knowledge of such tomfoolery, even though I’m sure the statute of limitations has long expired.

Other OU Post stories

Clarence Page photo gallery

This collection is primarily so Erin can get a look at a young Clarence while there may still be time to arrange a more reputable Hall of Famer, one who wasn’t the first to publish the F-word in a newspaper in Athens, Ohio. Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Meddling With Medals

KLS pins and medalsNothing like packing for a trip to empty out the sock and underwear drawers. Buried in the back of one of the drawers were two plastic boxes with foam inserts holding a bunch of pins and medals I accumulated while at Central High School (and, maybe SEMO).


When we got close to Cape, the weather alert kept going off with Tornado warnings; Lila was pulled over at a rest area north of town because a twister was reported south of her. Mother was headed to the basement. Things calmed down by the we all got home, but I decided not to unload the car tonight. We’ll fill you in later. Here’s a piece I put aside in case I needed a filler.]

The turtle and arrow at the top left signified that I was a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, the national Scout honor society. The turtle was our lodge symbol. I enjoyed Order of the Arrow much more than regular scouting because we were older boys and did work projects that had lasting value.

Missouri College Newspaper Association (maybe)

The rectangular pin on the left is one I don’t recognize. It has the initials MCNA. I was a member of the OCNA, which stood for Ohio College Newspaper Association, so I’m going to guess this was the Missouri equivalent.

National Forensic League

The next four were from debate club. The blue medal was for being elected Outstanding Representative at the State Student Congress in Jefferson City. The red one was for being Superior Representative. NFL, in my case, did NOT stand for National Football League.

The two pins showing the guy in a robe were for the NFL, too. I think the top one might have been a charm like you might put on a bracelet (no, I didn’t) or necklace. The other was a pin that you wore on your lapel.

Journalism and academics

Top right is a pin for National Honor Society. Some of the class of ’65 got in early in the year. I was in the ones who just barely made it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it was activity points for stuff like debate and the school publications that counted for more than my grades.

The second pin was for Quill and Scroll, the journalism honor society. It notes that I was a photographer. You’ve move up in rank based on the number of column inches of your work you had published. I was working at The Jackson Pioneer and freelancing for The Missourian, so I had a lot more opportunities to get in print than someone who might do a couple of stories for The Tiger. On top of that, picture column inches counted the same as written column inches, so photographers could wrack up inches faster than writers.