G. Patrick Siddons · 2001
G. Patrick (Pat) Siddons did not grow up with a life-long desire to be a journalist. Although he loved to read as a youngster, the Ellettsville, Ind., native loved cars even more. As a teenager he worked in gasoline stations performing such tasks as changing oil, lubricating cars and washing them. Half a century later he was to say he might still be pumping gas if it hadn’t been for World War II. Well, not the war exactly, but the help he got from the GI Bill of Rights in getting an education.
Siddons enlisted in the Army after graduation from Bloomington’s University High School in 1942. His anti-aircraft artillery unit saw action in the South Pacific where he was awarded battle stars for the New Guinea and Southern Philippines campaigns, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with two bronze stars, and Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star.
When he was discharged in 1945, Sgt. Siddons joined three friends in taking advantage of the GI Bill to study electrical engineering at Purdue University. He decided to transfer to Indiana University after a schoolmate’s wife read one of his composition themes and commented, “What in the world are you doing at Purdue? You should transfer to Indiana University and study journalism.” That praise for his writing — along with his admitted lack of aptitude for engineering — sent him from West Lafayette to Bloomington where his love for journalism began to match his talent for writing.
“I learned about newspapers through my work on the Indiana Daily Student,” he recalled years later, “and I still remember the heady feeling I got from putting words on paper, the thrill of watching the Linotype operator create words in metal, and of watching that old flat-bed press crank out copies of a paper that actually contained stories I had written. I thought it was a miracle.”
After earning his degree in 1950 he began his journalism career by taking a job at The Crawfordsville Journal & Review. After stints as sports editor and night editor there he moved on to newspaper jobs at The Michigan City News-Dispatch, The Louisville Times and The Louisville Courier-Journal and public relations positions with Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the Indiana Republican Party. Along the way he won the Chris Savage Memorial Award for excellence in reporting. In 1979 he returned to IU to become publisher of the Indiana Daily Student and adjunct associate professor of journalism. In 1983 Siddons was cited by the College Media Advisers for “outstanding service so student publications, to Indiana University and to the nation’s student press” and presented the group’s Distinguished Newspaper Adviser award.
He retired from the university in 1978, but he continues to do media consulting and to write. Looking back on his years of reporting and editing Siddons recalled: “I know now — have known for many years, in fact — that this is the only field in which I could have been successful, and the only field in which I could have had so many great experiences, so many wonderful relationships, so much fun, and such a tremendous feeling of having done something worthwhile. And that heady feeling that I had first experienced while I was a student — it never subsided.”