Forecasting the Future of Communication Education at FSU
Award-winning Meteorologist Gives Back to His Alma Mater
If you live in Los Angeles, Calif., chances are you have seen or heard of Dallas Raines. He has been reporting the weather for ABC7 Eyewitness News in L.A. since 1984. An American Meteorological Society Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, Raines has received awards for excellence in covering weather events from the Associated Press, the Greater Los Angeles Press Club and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Back in the early 1970s, however, Raines came to The Florida State University with the aspiration of working for the National Hurricane Center.
“While taking courses in both meteorology and communications, I was encouraged to look into the possibility of doing television weather,” said Raines. He goes on to explain how he began his career doing weather reports for the campus’ television station, WFSU, which gave him both practical experience and exposure in the local market. “The rest, as they say, is history.”
Recently, Raines and his wife, Dannie, who live in La Canada, Calif., made a generous pledge to the Theodore Clevenger Professorship fund in the College of Communication & Information at Florida State.
“I have such fondness for FSU and wanted to give back to the university in a meaningful way,” said Raines. “We decided this professorship was an excellent way to start.”
Once endowed, this fund will support a professorship in honor of the late Dr. Theodore “Ted” Clevenger, Jr., the first dean of the College of Communication (now the College of Communication & Information). Dr. Clevenger, who earned his doctorate from Florida State in 1958, returned to the university in 1967 as chair of the speech department, which was housed at that time in the College of Arts and Sciences and included the theater program. Under Clevenger’s direction, the department would grow into the College of Communication and expand its offerings to include programs in advertising and public relations.
“Promoting and participating in research within the communication discipline was always near and dear to his heart,” said Clevenger’s daughter, Ruth Reynolds. “He was always encouraging students and faculty to involve themselves in the process of asking questions, forming hypotheses and designing and implementing research experiments.” Clevenger himself was an accomplished researcher, credited with coining the term “stage fright” in a 1958 Quarterly Journal of Speech article.
Reynolds and her husband, George, have given thousands of dollars to the fund established in her father’s name. “We hope whoever is chosen for this professorship will share my father’s vision for the future of the communication field and his passion for working with students in a way that inspires and prepares them,” said Reynolds.
Dallas and Dannie Raines agree. “Dallas flourished at FSU because of the resources available to him, so we hope this gift will be a catalyst for other students to realize their dreams the way Dallas is realizing his,” said Dannie.
Dr. Gary Heald, associate dean of the college, holds a university-sponsored professorship whose name he was allowed to choose—his choice was Clevenger. A few more key gifts will fully endow the Clevenger Professorship fund and secure this faculty position in perpetuity.
“We encourage other alumni to consider giving back to the university,” said Raines. “This fund in particular is a wonderful way to honor the legacy of Dr. Clevenger and support the School of Communication.”
If you would like to contribute to the Theodore Clevenger Professorship fund, use our online giving form or mail your gift to the FSU Foundation at 2010 Levy Ave, PO Box 3062739, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2739. Please include the fund number with your gift: F01734.