Louis Ingelhart, 1st Chair of Ball State Journalism Department, Dies

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Louis E. Ingelhart, a retired journalism professor known as the “Godfather of College Publications” and for championing students’ First Amendment rights, has died. He was 86.

Ingelhart died Sunday at Ball Memorial Hospital, friends and colleagues said.

“To me, Dr. Ingelhart was the true heart and soul of this department,” said Ball State journalism department chairwoman Marilyn Weaver. “He was the center of the whole program, and his death is a terrible loss for us.”

A native of Grand Junction, Colo., Ingelhart joined what was then Ball State Teachers College in 1953. He led the school’s Center of Journalism and later the Department of Journalism from 1968-1979, when he stepped down, but he continued as director of student publications. He retired from Ball State in 1983.

In 1981, Ingelhart helped form the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and was named to its national executive board. He was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in April 1982.

Ball State journalism professor Mark Popovich said Ingelhart had testified at freedom-of-the-press trials and at congressional hearings on First Amendment issues. He wrote a dozen academic books and commentaries on students and their free speech, according to Ingelhart’s self-penned obituary.

“He was a true champion for students and their First Amendment rights,” said Popovich, who succeeded Ingelhart as journalism chairman in 1979.

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