Charles “Chuck” Kershner, a University of Southern Mississippi alumnus who served as executive editor of the Clinton (N.Y.) Courier, died April 14 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70.
Kershner was an editor with the university’s student newspaper, the Student Printz, in the early 1960s when its coverage of the attempted enrollment by John Frazier, an African American, was censored by school administrators. He was inducted into the university’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007, and served on the school's advisory committee.
Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the school, said Kershner studied journalism at Southern Miss under department chairman Frank Buckley while helping the Student Printz win top national awards.
“Chuck was one of a number of journalism students here from the 1960s - including Gene Wiggins, Bill Phalen, Jean and Goodloe Sutton, for instance — who went on to remarkable careers,” Campbell said. “He was a great friend of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism and returned regularly to speak to students in our journalism classes. He even came to Hattiesburg several times after he'd started his cancer treatment, probably against the advice of his doctor.”
In 2007 Kershner was inducted into the School of Mass Communication and Journalism’s Hall of Fame and spoke at a symposium held along with the induction ceremony titled “Social Justice and the News.” He was joined by John Frazier at the symposium, who happened to be on campus participating in the Trent Lott Center’s Minority Entrepreneurs Lecture Series. It was the first meeting between the two, who discussed the university’s censorship of the school newspaper’s coverage of Frazier’s failed attempt to break the color barrier at Southern Miss. Learn more about their meeting at http://www.usm.edu/news/archives/older/cms/indexa527.html
Kershner’s full obituary in the Clinton Courier can be viewed at http://www.clintoncourier.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=190:charles-j-kershner&catid=40:obituaries&Itemid=76