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After a lifetime of training journalists, a favorite professor is
honored at a surprise reunion that begins a lasting legacy.

Ed Trayes ’60 was busy working with his students, so when the door to the classroom slowly swung open he ignored it. After all, the students were there to hone their editing skills before heading off for internships at some of the nation’s most-notable newspapers, and there was much to be done.

But he couldn’t ignore what happened next. “I heard laughter, then saw flashes of light,” Trayes says. “A group of people started walking into the room; they all looked vaguely familiar.”

It didn’t take him long to figure out why.

“I knew them because I’d taught every one of them in that very class 25 years before!” Trayes says.

To his delight, all ten students from his 1979 copy editing class had flown in from around the country for a surprise 25th reunion with their former mentor. They’d also come to honor him with the news that Terence O’Toole, one of the students in that class, had used his family’s charitable foundation to establish a $10,000 scholarship fund in Trayes’s name. As a result, each year for the next ten years, Trayes will select one of his editing students to receive $1,000 as an Edward Trayes Scholar.

Training Pulitzer Winners

Just like the students from the class of ’79, Trayes’s current students are taking his course in preparation for summer internships with major metropolitan newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

It’s an intensive program that essentially condenses two semesters’ worth of editing instruction into two weeks of training. Trayes will choose the recipient of the scholarship based on the student’s performance in his editing class and during the internship that follows.

It’s all part of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund’s copy editing internship program, which Trayes co-founded more than 37 years ago. “The idea is to get people interested in editing at the start of their careers,” he says. “It’s a big step for the papers to put students on their copy desks for the summer.”

These aren’t just any students, though. “We get between 600 and 700 applicants for the program every year,” Trayes says. “We choose about 90 of them to participate in eight programs at schools across the country. Many of them have gone on to become writers, editors and publishers.”

Among them, he adds with more than a hint of pride, are a few winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

Class of ’79 Returns

By now the returning students have totally disrupted the class, what with their tales of Trayes from years gone by and memories of their own internships in the summer of ’79. The current crop of interns welcomes the break, and revels in the stories from the now-seasoned professionals who were in their shoes all those years ago.

O’Toole, who established the Ed Trayes scholarship, is chief operating officer of the Principal Investment Area at Goldman Sachs in New York. “The fact that after a quarter of a century all of his students would return on a Saturday is testimony to the impact that Ed had on our lives,” O’Toole said in a statement issued at the time.

Trayes was duly honored and impressed that Steve Costello, another one of the ’79 students, was able to orchestrate the whole thing. “Steve took the time, had the patience, to run down every one of his Temple editing residency classmates,” Trayes says. “That’s no small feat, especially when considering the women who married and changed their names. And then he had to sell the idea of everyone dropping everything and coming to Philadelphia for a long weekend in May.

What are the chances that all ten could or would do it?”

And those ten students are just a small fraction of those whose lives and careers have been touched by Ed Trayes.

At Temple alone, the 66-year-old professor has taught more than 30 different graduate and undergraduate courses since arriving there in 1967. The subjects are as varied as news editing, photography, media management, communication research, publication graphics and design, and, most recently, electronic information gathering. Not only has he taught the courses, he developed about two dozen of them over the years in an effort to meet the changing needs of the work place and of an ever-enlarging curriculum and program.

A 1960 Albright graduate, Trayes returned to the College to serve as adjunct professor from spring 1978 through spring 2004,
teaching courses that included public relations and advertising, editing, beginning and advanced news writing, and photography.

By his own rough calculations, Trayes figures he’s instructed more than 7,000 students over the years. And that doesn’t include Seton Hall, where he started his teaching career in 1963.

His career in journalism, though, started long before that. Not that being a paperboy necessarily means becoming a journalist, but it was all the inspiration that Ed Trayes needed.

A Life’s Work

At ten years of age, Trayes had an 80-customer route for his hometown paper, the Bangor Daily News, in east central Pennsylvania. As one might expect from a fairly small paper in a fairly small town, the company’s equipment wasn’t the most modern – or the most reliable.

“The press was a flat bed web press, and it was always causing paper tears,” Trayes explains. That meant that his deliveries were often delayed. It also meant that a young paperboy had plenty of time to learn about the business.

While waiting for his papers, Trayes says, “I’d watch them rework the press. There were maybe ten people I could interact with while I waited, and I soon learned how a paper is put together.”

The young Trayes would set out on his route once the press started producing again, the still-warm papers huddled in his shoulder bag like so many loaves of fresh baked bread.

The second customer on his route was a photographer who took a liking to the young entrepreneur, showing him around the
darkroom and how to use a camera.

For young Trayes, the combination of photograph and printed page was too much to resist. “Who would have thought that at ten years old I’d start doing something I’d do for the rest of my of life,” he now reflects. “I love journalism. It’s such an incredible, important thing. I have a lot of respect for people who do it day by day.”

But ask if he’s a reporter or a photojournalist and he’s quick to reply: “I’m a teacher.” “Teaching has to be one of the best jobs on campus. You go into the classroom and talk about something you love with people who are interested and engaged. And it’s never the same.”

His favorite subject? “The one I’m teaching at the moment is the one that’s my favorite,” he says.

Like his love of journalism, his passion for teaching developed early on. “I was influenced by having spent so much time in academe as a student,” he says, referring to his four years at Albright (A.B. in English), year and a half at Penn State (M.A. in journalism), year at the University of Iowa (working toward Ph.D. in mass communication research) and the completion of his dissertation while teaching at Seton Hall.

He was also influenced by one Albright professor in particular, who turned out to be much more than a mentor. “As an English major I had Professor Clyde Harding for just about every advanced course he taught,” Trayes says. “About a month after I graduated I met Professor Harding in the nearby supermarket, and he mentioned that his daughter Mary was home from college.”

Ed and Mary met, dated and, after Mary had graduated from Albright a few years later, married in 1964. Their daughter, Amanda, carrying on several traditions, graduated from Albright summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1992.

Even though he’s traveled the world, Trayes says, “I don’t think I ever really left Albright. My wife’s parents lived in [what is now called] Harding House, and when we’d come back to visit we’d always see people we knew on campus. I got interested in alumni work, and helped found Albright Magazine (a twice-yearly publication for alumni and friends that appeared through the early ’90s). I’ve also served on different alumni committees, including the executive committee of the Alumni Association.”

Trayes was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1997. Now in his third term, he’s serving as Trustee at Large. He received Albright’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992, and in 2004 was honored with the Jacob Albright Award.

For more than 30 years Trayes has also been a consultant to newspapers and other publications across the United States as well as in Mexico, Central America and South America.

As he reflected on the scholarship and the surprise reunion, it was obvious that Trayes feels a connection with his students. “It’s a privilege to work with people at the start of their careers and have some role, however major or minor it may be, in their development and possible future success.

“And for this group to come to Philadelphia for a professor they had for two weeks 25 years ago…” he adds, his voice trailing off in thought before rising again. “The best part was that I knew all their names."

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