Professor sets retirement date following Spring 2009 semester

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    At age 74, an advertising/public relations professor is calling it quits after 40 years in education.

    Doug Newsom, professor and director of the College of Communication’s advertising/public relations graduate program, is retiring next spring, saying she always thought 75 would be a good age to retire.

    “I never intended on teaching for so long – it just happened,” she said.

    Newsom said she loves teaching simply because it is rewarding, and she loves helping students.

    A former chair of the journalism department, Newsom was recently awarded the Public Relations Foundation of Texas Educator of the Year Award at the Texas Public Relations Association conference in March.

    She started teaching as an adjunct professor at TCU in 1968 while she practiced public relations in Dallas, and currently teaches an undergraduate public relations principles class, a graduate theory class and a summer course in London.

    Maggie Thomas, associate professor of journalism, said when she came to TCU in 1991, she felt welcomed by Newsom.

    “Usually it is the candidate who writes the thank you, but she typed a note saying she was excited to have me (on staff),” she said. “It was very thoughtful and an example on how she pays attention to deadlines and is encouraging to people.”

    Newsom and Thomas have worked on research projects together, and the two teach in London together.

    “She is an inspiration to young women and men,” Thomas said. “She is there to give a gentle nudge or a kick in the pants if they need it.”

    Jessi Cain, a senior advertising/public relations major, said she took Newsom’s London class and got to know her as a person, not just a professor.

    “Some may not like their experiences in her classroom, but you can’t form a real opinion on her until you get to know her,” Cain said.

    Robin Forner, a senior international communications major, also took her class in London and said it helped her stay motivated.

    “She kept us self-motivated and treated us like equals,” Forner said. “You are 10 times more likely to do something if you are self-motivated than if you just have to do it.”

    Newsom said she has no idea how many students she has taught over all the years, but she said she knows she has taught the children of former students.

    She is co-author of three textbooks, co-editor of a women’s studies book and author of 12 book chapters. After she retires, she said, she plans to keep writing and revising magazines and her current textbooks, which are distributed internationally in different languages.