Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct an inaccuracy.
Gilbert Otto Maienknecht, dubbed the father of Central Michigan University’s journalism department, died Monday at the age of 94.
According to a biography found on the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame website, Maienknecht came to CMU as the director of publicity in 1948. By 1959, he was named the founding chairman of the department of journalism. In that position, Maienknecht expanded the program to total 320 students with signed journalism majors, 180 with signed minors and 10 faculty members. He retired in 1982.
Maienknecht received a Gold Anniversary Award from the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association in 1971 and a national award for contributions to education in journalism in 1974. He was also the inaugural inductee to the CMU Journalism Hall of Fame in 2002.
Maienknecht, raised in the Upper Peninsula, earned his bachelor’s degree at Northern Michigan University, two master’s degrees in journalism and education at the University of Iowa, and a doctor of education degree in education-journalism at Indiana University.
He then enlisted in the Army during World War II, where he fought in several battles, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy, according to his obituary, before becoming a reporter at the Green Bay Gazette and then working at CMU.