The James H. Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professorship, the first Endowed Professorship in Journalism at SUNY New Paltz, is named for the founder of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., which is now a coast-to-coast group of 13 daily, 11 Sunday and more than 30 weekly newspapers with a total circulation of 387,224. The flagship newspaper of the chain is the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y.
A generous donation endowed the professorship, created to recognize the contributions to journalism of James H. Ottaway, Sr., who died in January 2000 at the age of 88. Ottaway Sr. was a leader of the American Press Institute, an industry education center in Reston, Va. Ottaway Sr. received the center's first lifetime achievement award in 1996.
Ottaway Sr. was a highly regarded publisher of community newspapers. According to his son, James Jr., "his (father's) vision of a good community newspaper was that it should tell the truth without fear or favor, and build a strong sense of community by helping volunteer groups and good government to improve leaders' lives." He has been described by many as a man of great enterprise, integrity, generosity and good humor.