North Texas Daily

Mayborn alumni gives back to school that brought him success

Mayborn alumni gives back to school that brought him success

January 16
23:37 2013

Ben Peyton / Senior Staff Writer

UNT alumni Mike Whitehead bequeathed $100,000 in his will to the Mayborn School of Journalism, creating the $4,000 a year C. Michael Whitehead scholarship for a student walking the same path he once trekked himself.

Whitehead graduated from the Mayborn School of Journalism in 1981 after finding a love of journalism in his high school in Beaumont, Texas through a teacher who herself was a UNT alumni.

“They [Mayborn faculty] gave me a firm foundation for everything I’ve done,” Whitehead said. “I am just in a position where I want to do something for the university that did so much for me.”

Whitehead was able to sustain himself during college years with scholarships from Mayborn and finding  part-time jobs.

“He found that the faculty were helpful, he had a positive experience and wants to leave a legacy so that other students can have the same kind of experience he had,” said Mayborn’s dean, Jean Keller.

Whitehead was the editor of the North Texas Daily and has held positions at other publications including The Dallas Morning News, Gannett Company and The Orange County Register, to name a few.

After more than 40 years of experience in journalism, he occasionally writes for publications at his will and still loves it just as much as the first day he started.

However, he has taken a hiatus from the day-to-day, fast paced business to pass the torch to younger journalists, saying it was his “time to go,” and to pursue other ventures.

Whitehead said he was having dinner one night with Charles Schulz, the famous cartoonist who created the “Peanuts” comic strip, when Schulz mentioned that it was time to do something else and give younger people the chance to get on the page, a notion that Whitehead shares.

Whitehead attributes much of his success to his professors who taught him integrity, credibility and how to be a professional.

The professors at Mayborn were not only good teachers but set high standards and knew the craft from their own experiences as professionals in the industry, Whitehead said.

Some of the teaching that influenced Whitehead’s success can still be found through one of his former professors and current senior professor Roy Busby, who said Mayborn has adapted but remains largely unchanged from what Whitehead experienced.

Journalism professors are still teaching the same core values that they did when Whitehead was a student, Busby said.

“He’s actually a perfect example of what you hope happens after you spend the energy with the student, and the student spends the energy with you,” Busby said. “It works out for them.”

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