About Us

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is the nation’s largest journalism organization, with 8,000 members dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical conduct. SPJ was founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi.

The Central Ohio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was founded in 1949 in Columbus. It was the first professional chapter established in Ohio. There were 19 founding members, including six journalists from the Columbus Dispatch, two from the Ohio State Journal and one from the Columbus Citizen. Others in the original group included two recent Ohio State University graduates who had been members of the campus chapter and were just settling into professional jobs.

Charter members were President Ernest Cady, Laurence R. Conner, Harold Dakin, Treasurer Norman H. Dohn, W. Dayle Fraizer, Secretary Wayne V. Harsha, Richard L. Kennard, M.B. McCormick, Jacob A. Meckstroth, Karl B. Pauly, Garland C. Raines, Harold K. Schellenger, Frank A. Scheurger, Harry Shook, George A. Smallsreed Sr., M. Douglas Talbot, Don E. Weaver, Claud A. Weimer and Preston Wolfe.

Cady was elected president for the chapter’s “probationary” year. Harsha was elected secretary, and Dohn was treasurer. The chapter was formally chartered on April 25, 1950.

Each year, the Central Ohio SPJ chapter recognizes the memory of the founding members of the chapter with the annual Founders Day banquet by honoring the achievements of local journalists, installing officers and board members for the next year, and granting scholarships to journalism students.

Past Chapter Presidents
Ernest Cady, 1949-50; Jacob A. Meckstroth, 1950-51 and 1951-52; Harold K. Schellenger, 1952-53; George A. Smallsreed, Sr., 1953-54 and 1954-55; Brady Black, 1955-56; William J. Oertel, 1956-57; Dr. Norman H. Dohn, 1957-58; Burdette (Bud) Johns, 1958-59; Walter W. Furniss, 1959-60.

Edwin L. McCoy, 1960-61; Haskell P. Short, 1961-62; Melvin C. Koch, 1962-63; Monroe Courtright, 1963-64; Clarence J. Brown, 1964-65; H.W. (Sam) Perdue, 1965-66; Winfred (Bill) Arthurs, 1966-67; Arthur W. Myers, 1967-68; Carl Ebright, 1968-69; James R. Hunkler, 1969-70.

Paul J. Sherlock, 1970-71; Louis V. Fabro, 1971-72; Willard (Bill) Potter, Jr., 1972-73; George R. Roberts, 1973-74; William S. Patterson, 1974-75; John M. Mountain, 1975-76; Anthony Mangine, Jr., 1976-77; Thomas E. LaRochelle, 1977-78; David Lore, 1978-79; Noreen Johnson, 1979-80.

Michael E. Collins, 1980-81; Diane Duston, 1981 (4 months); Michael E. Collins, 1981-82; Ted Virostko, 1982-83; Barbara A. Kaufmann, 1983-84; Bob Drumheller, 1984-85; Robert C. Tenenbaum, 1985-86; Adrienne Bosworth Chafetz, 1986-87; Thomas A. Schwartz, 1987-88; James Breiner, 1988-89; Kathy Gray, 1989-90.

Marilyn Greenwald, 1990-91; Pat Schmucki, 1991-92; Beth Gianforcaro, 1992-93; Mary Beth Lane, 1993-94; Bruce Cadwallader, 1994-95; Sarah Mills Bacha, 1995-96; Katie Foley, 1996-97; Phil Rudell, 1997-98; Joe McKnight, 1998-99; Julie Truck, 1999 (6 months); Gary Kiefer, 1999-2000.

Gary Kiefer, 2000-01; Rose Hume, 2001-02; Chuck Nelson, 2002-03; Paul Kostyu, 2003-04; Robin Hepler, 2004-05; Joe Meyer, 2005-06; Brian Ball, 2006-07; F. Michael Lorz, 2007-08; Jennifer Monnin, 2008-09; Kevin Kemper, 2009-10.

Katy Waters, 2010-2011; Julanne Hohbach, 2011-2012; Eric Lyttle, 2012-2013; Beth Gianforcaro, 2013-2014; Sarah Mills Bacha, 2014-2015; Joe Meyer, 2015-2016; Doug Buchanan, 2016-17; Kevin Z. Smith, 2017-19; Garth Bishop, 2019-20; Hayleigh Colombo, 2021-23; Eleanor Kennedy 23-present.

To learn more about the history of SPJ, please visit: http://www.spj.org/spjhistory.asp

The Central Ohio Pro Chapter is registered as a 501(c)(6) non-profit through its affiliation with the national organization. Money or items donated to the chapter may not be tax deductible. Consult a tax adviser for more information.