ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – Aug. 16, 2018, marks the 100th birthday of the late Dr. Russell J. Jandoli, who founded the journalism program at St. Bonaventure University.

As a professor and a mentor, Jandoli impacted the professional and personal lives of countless St. Bonaventure students. The journalism program he started in the late 1940s became a school within the university in 1996 and is named in his honor – the Jandoli School of Communication.

To illustrate the importance of Jandoli’s work, TAPinto Greater Olean reached out to his former students (some of whom teach in the Jandoli School), as well as his administrative assistant, and asked: In today’s media landscape, why is what you learned from Dr. Jandoli at Bona’s still so important?

Sign Up for Greater Olean Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Steve Agosto, Class of 1976: " What I learned most from Dr. Jandoli is that as journalists/writers, we are always in pursuit of truth, no matter what we happen to be writing.  He taught me that in the pursuit of this truth, words really do matter." Click to read full statement.

Dan Barry, Class of 1980: "Among the many lessons I learned from Dr. Jandoli was the awesome power of words. Just words. When properly employed, words help us to contemplate the human experience in all its complex wonder. When carelessly used, they wound, distract, and do grievous harm to the community." Click to read full statement.

John Bartimole, Class of 1976: "I remember vividly his 10 commandments of writing, most notably his first:  “You learn to write by writing.”  I think no truer words were spoken about our craft...writing is a lifelong lesson in learning, in humility, in accepting criticism and striving to be better.  Come to think of it...all of that is a metaphor for life, too...only appropriate, since Dr. J taught much more than journalism and writing...he taught about responsibility, ethics and morals."

Kathy Boser, dean’s administrative assistant: "Dr. Jandoli had a way of correcting mistakes, without coming off as condescending and always found something positive to balance it out. This is a lesson we can all learn from." Click to read full statement.

Bob Carr, Class of 1975: "It is still so important to remember that seeking the truth in all communications while also treating people with respect and dignity are two journalistic approaches that are not mutually exclusive."

Aaron Chimbel, Dean of the Jandoli School of Communication: "For all that has changed in journalism and communication since Russell Jandoli started what is now the Jandoli School of Communication nearly 70 years ago, the underlying core of what we train students to do is the same. That is his great legacy here." Click to read full statement.

Stephen Cocca, Class of 1973: "Being accurate. That is the single theme that Doc impressed upon me in my journalism training." Click to read full statement.

Bill Collins, Class of 1976: "To this day I quote Doc’s Rules for Writing, and the most important one, 'You learn to write by writing.' "Click to read full statement.

Dan Collins, Class of 1973: "Dr. Jandoli emphasized honesty, accuracy and fair/balanced reporting. He taught me to understand global impact on local decisions.  A man long before his time."

Ray Collins, Class of 1985: "Dr. Jandoli taught me there was always room for kindness in the midst of the pursuit of serious news gathering. His dry wit was unforgettable."

Lee Coppola, inaugural dean, Class of 1964: "The Doc taught me to always uphold the standards of journalism--fairness, accuracy and balance, all important today." Click to read full statement.

Terri Esperon, Class of 1976: "He taught us to seek out accuracy.  Check and double check those facts.Your reputation and those of your sources are at stake." Click to read full statement.

Joan Gillen, Class of 1976: "Oh Pater Noster! That greeting from Dr. Jandoli as he walked into a classroom of aspiring journalists is just one of the lasting memories I have of a man who inspired a generation of Bonaventure students. What I remember the most, however, are the rules of writing that are with me every time I sit in front of a computer." Click to read full statement.

Christine Gray, Class of 1974: “… he was an exceptional teacher on how to compose ‘good copy’ with active verbs, how to get to the point, edit and then edit again for clarity.” Click to read full statement.

Mary Hamilton, former department chair, Class of 1959: "Dr. Jandoli would be horrified that ‘journalism’ has been dropped from the title of the school bearing his name, especially now when journalists and journalism are being attacked by tyrants all over the world, including our own president." Click to read full statement.

Pauline Hoffmann, associate professor and former dean, Class of 1991: "I learned something valuable after. Something I live by that I didn't know he espoused. Forward ever, backward never. Not sure you can say I learned it from him but I like that he said it."

David Kassnoff, lecturer and former interim dean, Class of 1979: "At first glance, Russ Jandoli was fast-paced, peripatetic man. But as you grew to know him, you understood his patience -- how he often took the long view, and understood that successful outcomes were the result of a deliberate journey, not sprinting to a finish line." Click to read full statement.

Mike Lang, Class of 1990: Dr. Jandoli's lessons remain important today for several reasons. Looked at through the prism of the current media environment, his emphasis on fairness, impartiality and the truth are especially important. Click to read full statement.

Chris LaPlaca, Class of 1979: "Dr. Jandoli’s emphasis on digging for facts and relaying those facts crisply, clearly and with appropriate context made eminent sense then - and is even more urgent and necessary today."

Lisa Robert Lewis, Class of 1976: A large part of my decision to pursue a newspaper career was inspired by Dr. Jandoli. His stories about his stint as a reporter left an impression on me, especially when he talked about the need for accuracy, fairness, balance and clear, concise writing whenever you pursued a “story.” Click to read full statement.

Bob McCarthy, Class of 1976: "Happy Birthday, Dr. J! If you were at St. Bona’s today, there would be a grand and happy celebration honoring you and all you have done. I would also tell you that I have now been a reporter for 42 years after leaving your tutelage, and I can honestly say there has not been one day – not one – that I have not been guided by something you taught me." Click to read full statement.

Carole McNall, assistant professor, Class of 1975: "When I became a teacher, I found another avenue for passing on the Doc's lessons. I've told students they see some of what I learned from him in my classroom; I consciously use things he did that I felt worked well. I doubt that will ever change." Click to read full statement.

Sue Quinn, Class of 1976: "Is there anything we learned from Dr. Jandoli that isn't relevant in today's media landscape?" Click to read full statement. 

Bill Reed, Class of 1975: "Dr. Jandoli taught his students the importance of thorough, meticulous research and fact-gathering in news reporting and feature writing. He also taught the need for clear, concise, and descriptive writing, so readers can understand the issues and the context." Click to read full statement.

Donna Marie Smith, Class of 1974: "I used the lessons from Dr. J in my career as an English and ESL teacher, and I’d like to think that he would be pleased to know that my students benefited from me, as I did from his vast knowledge." Click to read full statement.

Mike Vaccaro, Class of 1989: "What I remember best about Dr. J was his rare gift of being gentle yet firm at the same time, which I think is emblematic of a man able to suss both sides of an issue -- a trait in, say 1988, that none of us could’ve known would be quite so vital in 2018.Click to read full statement.

Paul Wieland, retired lecturer, Class of 1959: "Dr. Jandoli's ethical standards as a man and a journalist remind us of how noble a calling to the field can be. It still is that way with me, thanks to his moral suasion."

Editor's note from Anne Wojtaszek Lee, lecturer, Class of 1976: "After Rich Lee and I returned to our alma mater at the start of the 2011-12 academic year, Rich more than once spotted me in the hallway staring at the photograph of the Doc we used for this article. He would always ask why, and I would always answer, 'I think he's laughing at me, but I don't know what's so funny.' " Click to read full statement.


TAPinto Greater Olean invites all former students of "the Doc" to add to this  story. Please email comments to

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.