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School of Mass Communication announces new director

Loyola press release - March 23, 2009

Sonya Forte Duhé, Ph.D., has been selected as the new director of Loyola University New Orleans’ School of Mass Communication within the College of Social Sciences. Duhé, who will begin work in the fall, is a faculty member at the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She also is an affiliated faculty member in the university's School of the Environment.

Duhé has been at South Carolina since 1993 and has served as the associate vice president for research and health sciences as well as special assistant to the provost for strategic directions and initiatives. She currently directs an interdisciplinary campus-wide science and health communications initiative. Her teaching and research interests include advanced reporting and researching skills, science journalism, crisis and risk communications and the applications of broadcast news research.

Duhé earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at Louisiana State University and A&M in Baton Rouge, and master’s and doctorate degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and the University of Missouri at Columbia, respectively. She also is a former television and radio news reporter and anchor.

College of Social Sciences Dean Luis Mirón said, “Dr. Duhé brings a wealth of academic and professional experience to Loyola University. Her Louisiana roots make her appointment just the right pick in this strategic moment in the school’s history.”

A native of Plaquemine, La., Duhé said she is looking forward to returning to her home state and “having the opportunity to work with such distinguished colleagues and students. These are exciting times for Loyola, New Orleans and Louisiana. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to Loyola’s outstanding mass communication program.”

Until Duhé’s arrival, Robert Thomas, Ph.D., will continue to serve as the school’s interim director. Thomas, a professor and holder of the Loyola Chair in Environmental Communications, agreed to serve in the temporary position following Hurricane Katrina. This fall, Thomas will return to running the Center for Environmental Communication.

“I am so excited Dr. Duhé is joining our faculty. Administration is a challenge with many fulfilling aspects, but I am very eager to get back to my center and my professional passion,” Thomas said. “The main thing I will miss is working with students across the school. It has been a fabulous experience getting to know everyone. In the center, I am exposed to fewer students. So I really will miss that.”

Miron credited Thomas for his leadership of the school during the past three years. “Dr. Thomas has done an exemplary job in leading the School of Mass Communication. He is worthy of much thanks and praise for his outstanding contributions, first and foremost to the school, but also for his dedication to the Loyola community.”

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