Campus Mourns Death of Revered Professor
By Jonathan Bym, Editor
Every student that graduates from college can look back and point out one professor or several professors that impacted them both in and out of the classroom. For many students who have graduated through the Mass Communication major over the past 12 years, Dr. Anthony “Dr. Tony” Curtis helped students become more career-ready through his classes and outside the classroom.
Dr. Tony passed away on Jan. 23 after a short fight with cancer.
He was a Professor in the Mass Communication department, where he has worked since coming to the university in 2002. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Dr. Judith “Dr. Judy” Curtis.
While at UNCP, he served as the online adviser for The Pine Needle, received the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award and was named Most Valuable Professor in 2012 and 2013.
Since 2005, Jennifer Carter has worked just a few feet away from Dr. Tony in the Mass Communication office suite. Her greatest memory of him was his commitment to the students.
“What I will remember most is how his door was always open,” Carter said. “If he was going to class and a student came up to him, he would tell them ‘lets talk on the way to class.’ He never ‘I cant talk to you now I’m on my way to class.’ He was always willing to help a student.”
Dr. Jason Hucthens has worked alongside Dr. Tony since joining the Mass Communication department in 2009, and now serves as the department chair.
“He was a very charismatic person,” Dr. Hutchens said. “He had an official poise about himself. He had a calm-confidence about himself that you just really remember about him.”
Dr. Tony had taught in higher education for nearly 50 years with stops at Penn State University, Ohio University, Salisbury University, The Union Institute and University and Hood College.
Prior to working in academia, he worked as a reporter for The Herald in Sharon, Pa., and The National Observer, was the electronics and photo editor for Popular Mechanics and was the founding editor of Modern Electronics magazine.
Technology and space were two interest areas where Dr. Tony did a lot of his work. He authored 72 books about those subjects and also founded Space Today Online, a website that covered a wide variety of space-related subjects. The American Library Association selected one of the books he wrote, Space Almanac, as Outstanding Academic Book.
Dr. Tony served on several committees and was the Chair of the Faculty Senate and was President of the Friends of Library Board.
Dr. Martin Farley worked in Old Main with Dr. Tony in the Geology and Geography department, and also served on the Friends of the Library Board with him.
“He was always serious about the way the university functioned and the way it worked for students,” Dr. Farley said. “He was always good to talk to about university affairs.”
Photo by Sara Owen. Dr. Tony Curtis, left, posing for a picture with UNCP student Curtis Washington during his birthday party on Oct. 31, 2014.