Exactly a week before graduation, nostalgic feelings became even more surreal after learning of the death of the man who I owe my invaluable storytelling education and experience. As a writer and editor of several SJSU publications including The Spartan Daily, Dwight Bentel’s namesake became virtually (and sometimes literally) my home for the past five years.
At the center of SJSU’s campus the beautifully-aged, ivy-covered building still holds Bentel’s legacy of young, passionate journalists whose blood spikes at breaking news and eyes settle on every imperfection.
Known as “The Father of Journalism,” Dwight Bentel was a Bay Area legend and nationally known for pioneering an ethically informative journalism and fighting for a free society. These are just a few of many intriguing facts about the late Dwight Bentel:
1. Wrote two books
2. Lived through 11 U.S. wars dating back to World War I.
3. Oldest living former member of the San Jose Mercury News staff.
4. Wore white gloves because he was ironically allergic to newsprint.
5. Spent 40 years as an SJSU professor, including one as “teacher of the year.”
6. Avid advocate and defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
7. Produced at least two Pulitzer Prize winners, who’ve collectively won six Pulitzer Prizes.
8. Began the SJSU Journalism degree, The Spartan Daily becoming one of the top departments in the country.