Alums continue their support after graduation

J-School alums Ken Dunham and Janelle FallanKen Dunham and Janelle Fallan have become two loyal supporters of the University of Montana School of Journalism. Ken, a 1970 R-TV graduate, and Janelle, a 1974 print graduate, now live in Folsom, Calif. Ken is the Executive Director of West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association. Janelle is the Director of Community Relations for the Sacramento Association of Realtors. 

Ken and Janelle married in 1974. They have a son named John (also a UM grad) who lives in Vancouver, Wash., with his wife Jennifer. Their daughter, Torhil, lives in Bellingham, Wash., with her husband Todd and their son Hayden.

To find out more, we sat them down for an interview.

What is your favorite memory as a student studying journalism or Radio/TV?

KEN: I especially liked that the R/TV department was so small at that time. We all knew each other and the faculty knew each of us, too. Classes weren’t so much lectures as they were free-flowing laboratories.

JANELLE: Probably Senior Seminar with Nathan Blumberg. I was scared and nervous most of the time in his class, but learned so much. Most importantly, I learned to question a lot of what I thought I knew. 

Who were your favorite journalism teachers, and why?

KEN: It’s hard to name just one. Bob McGiffert was probably the greatest influence on me with his dynamic teaching style. On the R-TV side, Don Miller taught me photo skills I still use today and he allowed some of us access to the darkroom at all hours of the day and night.

JANELLE: There were so many great teachers. Bob McGiffert, Jerry Holloron and Charlie Hood stand out. Ed Dugan taught me more than I realized at the time. (I can’t remember the names of almost any of my other college teachers.)

What skills did you learn as a journalism or R/TV student that you continue to use in your career today?

KEN: I publish a number of communications in my work as an association executive. The basic journalism skills are used every day for me.

JANELLE: How to organize my thoughts and how to find the lead. Always ask the next question – even if I’m only asking it of myself. I’ve been known (not necessarily fondly) in several jobs as the “company ghost editor” for my built-in red pencil.

How do you continue to stay involved with UM?

KEN: We’re members of the Alumni Association and I did a couple terms on the House of Delegates. If there is an alumni event in Northern California, we’ll likely be there. We try to attend the football and basketball games in California and even Portland, and may make one once in a while in Missoula. I’ve got the UM bumper sticker on my car and wear my old beat up cap a lot. Janelle’s California license plate salutes the Griz. We also encourage kids we know to consider UM for their education.

JANELLE: Social media make it easy to know what’s going on. We also have relatives at UM.

Why is it important to you to support journalism education?

KEN: Journalism education is a good foundation for a wide variety of professions. Writing, presentations and design, photography, and speaking abilities are critical for just about any professional career.

JANELLE: It is an important and useful degree. I’ve been very impressed by the work that I see from current students – reaching out in ways we never dreamed of. In a world where “content” comes from everywhere, often with no filtering, professional journalism skills are more important than ever, even as there is less demand.

- posted on 12/20/13 -