CoLA honored Roger S. Kintzel ‘70, Bachelor of Arts in English, at the 2014 College Outstanding Alumni Awards ceremony held at the Nutter Center on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Roger Kintzel graduated from Wright State University’s third graduating class in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a budding but ill-defined interest in writing and the news business. His first job, at the Xenia Daily Gazette, convinced him to be a journalist. After receiving a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1973, Roger embarked on a career as a journalist, an editor and finally as publisher of several newspapers.
The creation of Wright State was fortuitous for Roger, who had lived in nearby Yellow Springs for most of his life. The proximity of the campus, an ample offering of night courses, relatively low cost and scholarship aide made part-time college attendance possible. Matriculation, supported by part-time jobs and the G.I. Bill, followed quickly.
His first job after he finished his studies at the University of Missouri was with the Richmond News-Leader in Richmond, VA. Roger’s interest in writing business news led him, in 1979, to join Cox Enterprises as business editor at the Dayton Journal-Herald, which was then the morning publication of Dayton Newspapers, the publisher of the Dayton Daily News.
At the Dayton operation, Roger moved from the newsroom into newspaper administration. Subsequently, he moved within Cox to publisher of the Springfield (OH) News-Sun, publisher of the Mesa (AZ) Tribune, publisher of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman and finally, in late 1995, to publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2005, Roger retired from Cox after 26 years, as Senior Publisher of the Newspaper Division.
He lives in Austin, TX, with his wife of 41 years, Lee, and near their two daughters and three grandchildren.
Excerpts from Roger Kintzel’s remarks at the alumni ceremony, read by Dean Kristin Sobolik:
It is an honor to be recognized by the College of Liberal Arts and Wright State University. In my life, as in the lives of thousands of others, Wright State has been a pivotal element; it has made the critical difference between a life of missed opportunities and one of dreams fulfilled.
In trying to recollect my days at Wright State -- 1966 to 1970 -- my memory includes a lot of time spent avoiding parking tickets and gaining a base of knowledge designed to help me understand our culture, the world culture and how to navigate within it.
I vaguely remember the world when I started at Wright State. Our cars had AM radio and 8-track tape cassettes. FM radio was broadcast to the home but not widely to cars. We did have rudimentary color TV, but cable TV was barely noticed -- and thoroughly trashed. We didn’t land on the moon until my senior year, and computers were pretty large machines driven by punched cards. Things changed in those days but not very fast compared with today.
Fast forward to 2009, just five years ago: there were no iPads then, and we thought laptop computers would be with us forever. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Anyone want to take a guess at what the next five years holds for us? The smartphone -- the iPhone -- was introduced only seven years ago. Apple has sold more than 2 billion of them since then, and it has a relatively small market share of smartphones compared with Google’s Android operating system. Who could imagine the world changing so quickly? Attitudes about lifestyle are changing: the average age of those getting married for the first time has risen to between 25 and 30 from the early 20s. Not as many young people get drivers’ licenses and many are moving in the center city to use public transportation.
These are just some of the changes that have occurred within the last 5 years. More change has occurred in the last 10 years than had occurred in the first 60 years of my life. It seems to me that a University needs be at the absolute forefront of recording, interpreting and teaching these rapid changes. To survive and prosper in the future, it is absolutely essential our citizens feel at ease with and adapt to an accelerated pace of change. More so today than in the past, it seems, each new technological change brings with it the opportunity for legal, moral, ethical and cultural change.
If those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it; those who ignore the current trends and pace of change in America and in the world are doomed to miss great opportunities. I’ve looked back over the last 10 or so years of my career in newspapers -- roughly 1995 to 2005 to try to understand why the business I loved was bruised so badly by massive changes in technology and our culture. The rapid adoption of the internet by business and individuals alike came like a tsunami. As it was approaching, we could see it, we could feel it, we could use it and sense its enormity, but we were never able to deal with it effectively.
I know Wright State has been at the forefront for a long time, and it is doing a lot of cutting edge work with its students today. It was at the head of its class in 1966 when I started and its campus consisted of only two buildings. Two more were built while I was here to form the initial quadrangle where anti-Vietnam War protestors demonstrated. What I learned here made a huge difference in my life and helped me far exceed my dreams. In the 44 years since I graduated, I’m sure Wright State has given additional thousands of young people the guidance, the knowledge and the abilities to fulfill many dreams for themselves and for society.
I’m grateful for the opportunities Wright State provided me. And just in case I haven’t said it, I want to express my gratitude to all those who made this university possible and give my thanks to those who have maintained its high level of academic excellence.