FIRST DEAN OF THE GRADY SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE PEABODY AWARDS
John E. Drewry (1902-1983) was the first dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication and played a large role in developing its reputation as one of the finest in the world.
t same year he A native of Griffin, Georgia, Drewry attended the University of Georgia and in 1922 became the second graduate of its journalism program. After completing his masters at UGA and further postgraduate work at Columbia University, he succeeded S.V. Sanford, the UGA program’s founder, as director in 1932. He accepted the position of dean when it was created in 1940. Thahelped Lambdin Kay, general manager of Atlanta’s WSB Radio, create the Peabody Awards recognizing excellence in broadcasting.
Drewry’s teaching skills and knowledge of the field of journalism are legendary. In a 1982 Athens Banner-Herald article, Loran Smith recalled that when Drewry was Grady’s dean, “We all were charmed by his presence, inspired by his intellect and relaxed by his wit.” His classes often ended with standing ovations from his appreciative students.
Drewry’s class, intelligence, and style influenced students as much as the spirit of Henry W. Grady, the 19th Century journalist and orator for whom the UGA school is named, affected him. Drewry never missed an opportunity to inform his students how the spirit of Grady watched over them all and expected them to uphold the finest journalistic traditions.
Drewry wrote four books, among them Writing Book Reviews, edited 26 others, and wrote a column called “New Book News” for 61 years. He also served as a capitol reporter and state editor for the Associated Press. His papers and correspondence are preserved in UGA’s Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library.