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In Garvey's blood

Recently, the Augusta State University professor that taught me, and Mirror Publisher Jason B. Smith, much of what we know about journalism was promoted to chair of the Communications Department. In accepting the position, he resigned as the long-time writing coach of The Augusta Chronicle.

One of my favorite stories about Dr. Garvey is the time he nearly accused me of plagiarism. I had written an article about the ASU soccer team for his news writing class. I knew, since it was sports, I was stretching his classical definition of "news" anyway, but it made sense because I was the sports editor of The Bell Ringer - the student newspaper - at the time.

Dr. Garvey caught me after class and said he needed to speak with me about the article. My friend Chris Gay had recently graduated and was covering ASU sports for The Chronicle. The two of us had attended the annual ASU golf team's awards luncheon that day and spotted the soccer coach afterward.

We both peppered the coach with questions while standing outside the Forest Hills clubhouse, all the while jotting down statistics and quotes for our articles. It was a miniature press conference of sorts.

After reading my article for class, Dr. Garvey - like a good journalism professor determined to keep up with his former students - read Chris' piece in The Chronicle. He had immediately recognized that some of the quotes were the same, and a great deal of information was similar.

He stopped me after class to ask if I had simply reworded Chris' article. That was a serious no-no, he told me. Visions of flunking out of college flashed through my head.

Then I simply explained to him what had happened. We had interviewed the coach together, so we were bound to have similar information and identical quotes. Thank goodness he believed me and didn't give me a failing grade and snatch my newspaper scholarship.

I gained a great deal of valuable knowledge from Dr. Garvey through my years at ASU. Every time I see him in passing, he always knows what I've been up to. That's because he cares about his students past their time in the classroom and continues to read what they write.

I don't so much lament his leaving The Chronicle, not because he will no longer be some semblance of a coworker, but because I know if I have an important question, I can still call on him as I have in the past. I wish him well in his new endeavor at ASU. It is well deserved.

And to Dr. Garvey, give your pen a rest for just one second. I know you've already filled this column with red markings. It's in your blood, and I would expect nothing less.

Web posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006

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