Conrad Fink, who joined the faculty of the Grady College in 1983, died Saturday after a recurrence of prostate cancer. He was 80 and had worked as a foreign correspondent and executive with the Associated Press before joining the UGA faculty.
"He put up a good battle with cancer for many many years, he kept himself in as good shape as he could. He told me he was going to teach absolutely for as long as he could, and I guess he did," said Al Hester, a retired Grady professor. He first met Fink in Dallas, Texas, when Fink was working for the AP.
"He did a lot of good things for many students and was really was popular with a lot of them," Hester said. "I watched him from the time he started with us, and I saw something in him that other people did not. He was kind of humble about teaching and wasn't sure what he should do."
Fink learned well how to teach, Hester said, bringing up generations of editors and reporters who today work at various publications across the country.
NBC news did a piece on Conrad Fink's long teaching life at UGA.
As news of Fink's death circulated, his Facebook page was flooded with tributes and notes from students and friends.
From Stephanie Jackson Ali:
I cherish the compliments you gave me almost as much as those criticisms that made me strive to improve, if not to impress you than to try to, one day, be as good as you were. I'm honored to have had you as a professor and heartbroken for the generations of Grady alumni to come who won't get to be Finksters.
According to the Athens Banner Herald, there will be a private ceremony for Fink at his summer home in Saratoga Springs, New York. In lieu of flowers, Fink’s family asks that contributions go to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. A UGA community memorial service will be announced at a later date, according to a UGA press release.