Louis Ingelhart · 1982
By Caroline M. Capehart
Louis Edward Ingelhart has led a life of intense activity, particularly in the journalism field. He best expressed this when, asked by this author to summarize his accomplishments, he stated his life is (and has been) “joyous, replete with contention, confrontation and excitement.”
Born January 10, 1920, in Minco, Okla., Ingelhart’s family later moved to Colorado. Young Ingelhart was graduated from Grand Junction (Colo.) High School in 1938. He then entered Mesa College in Grand Junction, where he received an Associate of Arts degree in 1940.
Desiring to continue his education, Ingelhart headed for Greeley, Colo., and Colorado Northern University. Combining newly acquired credits with those of the previous degree, he was able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in two years (1942). His major was English.
During the next few years, Ingelhart served in the United States Air Force, taught high school journalism and returned to Colorado Northern University to teach English and direct sports publicity. In addition, he gained his Master’s of Arts degree in English (1947) while working at the university. He has been deeply involved with academia ever since.
From 1947 to 1953, Ingelhart held a variety of positions – journalism teacher, newspaper and yearbook adviser and teaching graduate assistant. The latter was in the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., where Ingelhart earned his doctorate in journalism in 1953.
In the fall of 1953, Ingelhart arrived on the campus of Ball State University to accept a position as English teacher. The campus, and Muncie, Ind., have been his home since that first day almost thirty years ago.
Ingelhart has been active at Ball State in numerous ways. Starting as an English teacher, he soon found himself teaching journalism, directing university publicity functions, advising and directing student publications, advising and directing various campus student journalism organizations, developing degree programs in journalism, climbing the ranks from assistant professor of journalism to full professor to chairman of the department.
Ingelhart was the pioneer for much of the journalism department’s programs and activities.
Ingelhart lives in Muncie and is married to Margaret (Wade) Ingelhart. They have two children, Sharon Margaret, 22, and James Louis, 20.
Dr. Ingelhart is perhaps best known in Indiana for his many contributions to Ball State University and its journalism department and program. He began as an English teacher, then rose in the ranks as teacher of journalism, eventually becoming a full professor and chairman of the department. He was chairman from 1973 to 1979, retiring from that post to devote his time as professor of journalism and director of student publications, duties he fulfills today.
Ingelhart founded a number of activities at Ball State. These include: journalism teaching minor (1955); journalism teaching major (1969); journalism departmental major (1969); journalism master’s degree-public relations major (1971); associate of arts degree in journalism (1972); Eastern Indiana Journalism Day (1956); and the BSU Summer High School Journalism Workshops (co-founder, 1965).
Journalism education and student publications at Ball State were in their infancy when Ingelhart joined the faculty in 1953. Much change has occurred under his leadership. For example, the weekly paper (Daily News) became a daily, the curriculum expanded from a few courses (as part of the English department) to over 100 courses within its own department and bachelor degrees awarded offered sequences in news-editorial, magazine, photojournalism, advertising, public relations, sports information and secondary education and journalism and public relations for the master’s.
Ingelhart is a member of numerous organizations. He has served on committees, held offices, conducted seminars, handled publications and acted as general instigator of dozens of projects. These include: the Association for Education in Journalism (AEJ), which he joined in 1947; the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, joining in 1952 – he helped establish the Ball State student chapter and the Indiana East professional chapter; the National Council of College publications, 1955; Alpha Phi Gamma (1955), later merged with Delta Phi Epsilon (1970), creating the Society of Collegiate Journalists (largely Ingelhart’s doing); the National School Public Relations Association; the Hoosier State Press Association; the National Newspaper Association; Kappa Tau Alpha; and many, many others.
On a national level, Ingelhart is chairman of the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Program of the National Council of College Publications Advisers and is coordinator of the bicentennial observance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for the First Amendment Congress.
Nationally, he is also a member of the Executive Board of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., member of the Executive Board of the First Amendment Congress in Reston, Va., and member of the Liaison Committee for the Student and Professional Press of the Society of the Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.
Ingelhart is called on frequently to advise student staffs and advisers on secondary and collegiate levels concerning student press operations, repression and censorship. He thus serves as adviser and consultant to students and professionals throughout the nation.
Ingelhart is a staunch advocate of student press freedom. He has written articles for a variety of publications on this subject, and others, including freedom of the press, journalism education, campus press operations and others. In 1973, he wrote and published a report-paper based on a study he assisted with for the national Council of College Press Advisers concerning freedom of the student press. The newspaper-like publication, entitled “The College and University Campus Student Press: An examination of its status and aspirations and some of the myths surrounding it,” dealt with the legalities involved in maintaining a student press. The report studied the myths and roles of censorship, libel, proper education, and more in the student press.
For these contributions and others, Ingelhart has received many awards. His campus office literally is filled to the brim with awards, plaques and certificates. Those displayed include: the National Council of College Publications Advisers’ Noel Ross Strader Memorial Award (for contributing to the freedom of the campus student press (1981); Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Golden Crown Award (1975) and Gold Key Award (1972); the Founders Award of the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (1968); the Pioneer Award of the National Scholastic Press Association (1970); the Carl Towley Award of the Journalism Education Association (1968); the Outstanding University Student Newspaper Adviser Award of the National Council of College Publications Advisers (1969); named an Honorary Fellow of the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (1981); induction into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame (1982); and a graduate assistantship established in his name by the High School Journalism Workshops of Ball State.
As can be seen, journalism and its many aspects has been, and no doubt will continue to be for years to come, Ingelhart’s main purpose, work and love in life.
As can be discerned from the previous material, journalism is the main priority in Dr. Ingelhart’s career. Thus, this section is brief.
Ingelhart is a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). He is a Fellow of the President’s Club of Ball State University and has been named an honorary life member of the Ball State University Alumni Association.
He founded Presenting Ball State, a quarterly newsletter of the university. He was also active in founding Ball State’s Forum Magazine, which publishes faculty writings.
Ingelhart spends what spare time he has (however little) reading and doing yard work. But usually, he can be found participating and/or contributing in some way to the Ball State journalism department and its students.