Originally Published: June 9, 2018 6:02 a.m.
Former University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism Professor Jim Patten died June 5, 2018, in Prescott, Arizona. He was 83.
Patten, a faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1967 to 1980, was passionate about journalism and his students and in 1972 won the university’s top award for teaching, the Annis Chaiken Sorensen Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Arts and Humanities.
Patten was a faculty member at the University of Texas at El Paso from 1981-83 before going to the University of Arizona, where he was a professor from 1983 to 2000 and head of the department from 1991 to 2000. He was widely credited for saving the journalism department from being eliminated in the 1990s by the university’s president and provost. In 1998, he became the first University of Arizona professor to earn a named professorship when he was named the Soldwedel Family Professor of Journalism.
Patten was inducted into the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and in 1997 was honored for “Academic Excellence and Passionate Instruction,” the National Association of Hispanic Journalist’s top academic award.
Patten also worked as a reporter, copy editor or writing coach at multiple newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, Des Moines Register, Omaha World-Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer. He co-authored two books for high school students: “Journalism Today,” and “Opportunities in Journalism Careers.”
Patten is survived by his life partner for the last four years, Iyone Meyer of Prescott; brother, Gaylen Patten (Betty) of Fremont, Nebraska; daughter, Billie Stewart (Myril) of Springfield, Missouri; son, Mike Patten of Austin, Texas; daughter, Julie Patten (Michael) of Oakland, California; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Patten’s wife, Patricia, to whom he was married for 57 years, died in 2013.
No date has been set for a celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Jim and Patricia Patten Fund - 01089350, at the University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Information provided by survivors.