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Professor McLaughlin remembered
A foreign correspondent, well-respected faculty member and friend, Bill McLaughlin passed away from cardiac arrest on March 7 at 76 years old in a Waterbury hospital.
He was visiting the United States from France, where he and his wife live, to see his son and had plans to visit his former colleagues and friends.
McLaughlin joined Quinnipiac’s faculty in 1993 and was one of the founding members of the School of Communications. He taught junior and senior seminars in television reporting.
Associate Professor of Journalism Richard Hanley knew McLaughlin for 10 years, from his first day at Quinnipiac in 2001 until McLaughlin retired in 2011. Hanley and McLaughlin would talk about global issues and coverage just about every day.
“[He was] really a classically educated person who could speak eloquently about many different things, whether it was war in the Middle East or the New York Yankees,” Hanley said.
Hanley had made plans to go to Luce for lunch with McLaughlin when he arrived to the United States.
“His absence, certainly in my life, is noted,” Hanley said. “Not having that person to talk to about these things is something that I will certainly miss. And I will miss his class and his presence.”
McLaughlin was a well-known world correspondent for CBS News where he reported on the Vietnam War, two Arab-Israeli wars and specialized in the Middle East. He went on sabbatical from teaching at Quinnipiac and spent a year working on a project called Seeds of Peace, which aimed to get Palestinians and Israelis to get along besides their differences and conflict, Hanley said. McLaughlin also reported for NBC News as its United Nations correspondent, according to CBS News.
“The students were amazed at his experiences, that they were able to have someone with that depth of experience as a teacher was meaningful,” Hanley said. “They understood that Bill had seen the world and all its depravity, war, Vietnam, Middle East, Africa, and he was able to transmit an interpretation of those events to the students and the students who would pay attention to his lectures got the best education possible and they knew it.”
McLaughlin became more than just a colleague for Professor of Communications Raymond Foery, he became a friend. Foery remembers McLaughlin’s original sense of humor.
“He had this kind of dry wit,” Foery said. “He would say something very funny but it wasn’t a Jimmy Fallon line, it was more of a John Stewart line; you had to think about it.”
McLaughlin was also remembered for his seriousness.
“He was very serious but he had a biting wit, quick with a joke,” Hanley said. “A complete renaissance guy in that way, and that he was able to laugh at himself and others in the news, but always retain a sense of seriousness.”
McLaughlin kept his world correspondent experience in mind when he taught reporting for television at Quinnipiac.
“I think that he had a worldview, in other words, he wasn’t a local journalist,” Foery said. “He was always asking the questions in the Edward R. Murrow way. He felt we should all be…informed global citizens.”
Dean of the School of Communications Lee Kamlet came to Quinnipiac just weeks before McLaughlin announced he had decided to retire.
“His deep professional experience was a huge asset for the school, which benefitted students and faculty alike,” Kamlet said. “He was widely praised by his students.”
Students were granted with a well-rounded journalist with a lot of experiences under his belt.
“He had very high standards which meant that some students found themselves challenged, but he felt he should give them the best education that he could give,” Foery said. “He believed they had to be well-trained and well-educated students.”
Professor of Journalism Edward Alwood recognized McLaughlin when he joined faculty in 2002.
“I remember as a kid seeing Bill McLaughlin reporting from Vietnam and from Europe,” Alwood said. “[He] was a well-known name and helped give the communications program…some credibility that it wouldn’t have otherwise.”
The faculty at the School of Communications would always remember McLaughlin as a man of the world.
“Bill was a man of honor and distinction,” Hanley said. “He had seen the world and was a man certainly of the world. But he always retained his sense of optimism and his integrity despite seeing such great depravity that humans can do to each other.”