Wider Horizons

“I feel like you owe something to your community for living here. There’s a debt you owe your community.”

Such was the response from Georgia Green Fooks when asked about the contributions she made to Lethbridge and southern Alberta and why she worked so hard and volunteered for so many organizations.

Fooks became an instructor at the college in 1970 and taught communications for 23 years. Fooks reflected that she had thoroughly enjoyed her job working with the students where she taught many subjects including Communications Law, Editing, Style, Writing and Radio classes. She proudly stated that at one time – when the Lethbridge Herald had about 130 people still working in the newsroom – 30 of the staff were graduates of the college’s Communications program. Fooks noted the Communications program was one of the best programs of its kind, and students came from Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and “from all over the place” to be part of it.

For more than 18 years, Fooks was also publisher of the student newspaper, The Endeavour. She took over the direction of the newspaper in 1972, just days before the start of the fall semester. Prior to her time, The Endeavour came out every two weeks; under her leadership, it became a weekly newspaper.

Years later, Fooks reflected on what it was like to take over the journalism program. Once she started, she realized some of the political difficulties facing a student newspaper. Both the students’ association and college administration felt there should be control over the paper. There was a plan to set up a publishing board, which Fooks explains “would have been a censorship board,” with administration and student association representatives. Fooks brought in print media experts to convince the college this was not the appropriate way to run the newspaper.

Fooks has fond memories of her time at the college, but what did past students think of her?

Sherri Gallant (Communication Arts 1986) shared a few memories. “Georgia was tough, and she knew her stuff. She didn’t let us get away with any b.s., and I respect her so much for that. Georgia prepared us well for the print industry and she was a force. She called us ‘my little darlings,’ which I quite loved. And even though she had high standards and expected a lot from us, she was never grouchy that I ever remember – just always full of energy and positive. I see her books around every now and then and when I do, I get a little shiver of pride, because she was my instructor. I love Georgia.”

Fooks’ time at the college was only a small part of the many ways she contributed to southern Alberta. She spent seven years hosting the children’s television show With Georgia (winning a national award), worked at the Lethbridge Herald and chaired the boards of Fort Whoop-Up and the Galt Museum. She has been instrumental in the preservation and promotion of local history, authoring several books, and making plans to rewrite and update at least one of her books, as well as write her family history.

More than two decades after she left the college, Fooks remains an ardent proponent of freedom of the press, is still passionate about the work she did with The Endeavour and is proud of how the paper developed during her time at the college. Her legacy lives on today in the pages of the newspaper and program she helped build.

Wider Horizons
Belinda Crowson
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