J. Douglas Perry, Departed SCAT Dean

J. Douglas Perry

Departed SCAT Dean

The following is written by Gerry Wilkinson....In preparing this page, I just looked again at Dean Perry's photo. I remember him like it was yesterday, wearing colored shirts with a tie. When most of the professors would have worn a white or light shirt, Perry often wore dark gray or blue. That always stuck in my mind. I thought it showed a man a courage. He wasn't exactly cut from the same mold as other instructors. Thinking back over three decades, I remember him telling me, "if there's one thing I going to teach you in this class, it's to use your brain. Think the unthinkable and never get away from the truth."

Ray Didinger and I were talking a little while ago about how Doug Perry taught. Some people didn't like him very much. They thought he demanded too much. His standards were too high. But it wasn't true. They weren't too high. They were where they should be. Write the best you can, "but don't let your style get in the way of the truth." Ray and I were thinking back to how Professor Perry (he always liked the title Professor in preference to Dean) said on the first day of class, "If you ever write a story and use the phrase 'AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL,' you get an automatic F." Someone had asked in one class, "But what if a good time was really had by all?" Perry smiled with that slightly crooked grin of his, "I want signed statements from everyone there stating that they had a good time. If a thousand people attended, and you talked to 999 and they all said that they had a good time, you still can't use that phrase until you interviewed that last person." Truth meant something to him. I went to Temple to learn and Perry taught you. He didn't just head the class. HE TAUGHT YOU!

In 1948, both major political parties held their conventions in Philadelphia. J. Douglas Perry was hired by NBC as one of the locals to help cover the events. The next year, Professor Birdsong was replaced by Perry as chairman of the Journalism Department. He joined the university's faculty in 1936, the heart of the depression. He served as department head and later as acting dean of SCAT. He retired in 1968. In a 1972 issue of InterCom, the alumni newsletter for SCAT grads, it was reported that J. Douglas Perry was writing a book entitled, "Incredible University: The Story of Temple." They mentioned that he had completed the first ten chapters. Whether he ever finished the book, I don't know.

The photo of Dean Perry above was from the 1967 Templar yearbook. In the Spring of 1971, Perry visited the Temple campus as a guest lecturer in several journalism courses. Here's a photo from one of those classes.

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