Visiting professional to focus on business journalism

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A respected journalist with more than 30 years of experience will spend three days visiting the Penn State College of Communications and serving as the first-ever Norman Eberly Visiting Professional in Business Journalism in mid-April.

Len LaCara, business editor of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Democrat and Chronicle, will work closely with faculty members and students while visiting reporting methods and editing classes April 14-16.

A native of Rochester, LaCara previously worked as the paper’s enterprise editor. He first worked for the Democrat and Chronicle from 1989-95 and has worked for news organizations in Huntington, W.Va., and central Ohio during his career. He returned to his hometown paper in April 2013.

The opportunity for a visiting professional focusing on business journalism was made possible through a first-of-its-kind communications professorship -- the Norman Eberly Professorship in Journalism. The support, which endows a faculty position and related programming, was created through the University’s ongoing Faculty Endowment Challenge.

A major gift by Joseph Eberly and his wife, Shirley, endowed the professorship in the name of Norman Eberly, who graduated from Dickinson College in 1924 and then worked as a newspaper journalist for 20-some years -- first as an undergraduate -- before joining the Penn State staff as a writer-editor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He helped publicize agricultural extension and outreach efforts across the state of Pennsylvania and worked closely with student writers.

Norman Eberly retired from Penn State to continue his writing career with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, where he coordinated public relations efforts for the secretary of agriculture and made an impact across the commonwealth, but he always stayed connected to Penn State. Until his death in 1996 at age 99, he faithfully followed Penn State football.

Joseph Eberly, the Andrew Carnegie Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, learned the importance of writing from his father and hoped the gift would keep his father connected with journalism at Penn State in perpetuity. In just three years since it’s inception, the endowment has proven it can do that, and do it in a practical manner.

“Having the opportunity to get top-level professionals on campus, working directly with our students, is always a good thing,” said Ford Risley, head of the Department of Journalism. “We’re pleased by to have the resources to make a visit like this happen.”

Last Updated April 07, 2014