A longtime Wartburg College journalism professor was recently appointed to the R.J. McElroy Chair in Communication.

Former KOEL News Director and Oelwein Daily Register Editor Pamela Ohrt has with the Wartburg community for 16 years. An associate professor of journalism and communications, she is a tenured member of the faculty. Ohrt is the faculty adviser for the campus radio station (KWAR) and is co-coordinator of the IS 101 program, a term-long course and first-year orientation requirement focused on interdisciplinary and liberal arts studies.

Ohrt earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism and Spanish from Iowa State University and a Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of Northern Iowa. Prior to joining Ohrt was news director of KOEL-AM/FM (now Townsquare Media stations, along with Q92.3 and KCRR) and editor of the Oelwein Daily Register for a combined 27 years.

Prior to joining the Wartburg faculty full time, Ohrt had 13 years of experience in teaching college courses, including composition, news reporting, editing and feature writing.

Concurrent with her work at Wartburg, Ohrt is executive director of the Iowa College Media Association and a member of the National College Media Association, Broadcast Education Association and Iowa Broadcast News Association. At the 2019 Iowa Broadcast News Association convention, Ohrt was honored with the Jack Shelley Award, the highest honor given to Iowa journalists.

R.J. McElroy founded Black Hawk Broadcasting Company, which first operated radio station KWWL, then KWWL-TV, and later several other radio and television stations. When McElroy died in 1965, a provision in his will established the R.J. McElroy Trust, which funded Wartburg’s first endowed chair in 1981 and renovation of the former fine arts building into the McElroy Communication Arts Center. It also has supported the Vogel Library, Wartburg Science Center, Walter Cunningham Memorial Teacher Preparation Project, student research and student scholarships.

A public event to recognize Ohrt will be deferred until the campus community can gather in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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