KNOXVILLE — Peter Gross, professor and director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be presented with the “Order of Merit in Education” award at a ceremony on Wednesday, March 23 at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Gross, a native of Timisoara, Romania, will receive the award from Romanian Ambassador to the U.S. Adrian Vierita. The award is granted to institutions and individuals who have made important contributions to the development of education in that country and elsewhere in the world.
The award comes with an official rank of “commander,” which Gross said is the second-highest rank associated with the award.
“I’m honored and gratified to be receiving this award,” Gross said. “When the president of the country of your birth wants to recognize your work, it just stops you in your tracks. I’m very humbled.”
Gross left Romania for the United States in 1963 because of political repression. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Northern Illinois University and master’s and doctoral degrees in mass communication from the University of Iowa.
Prior to coming to UT in 2006, Gross held the Gaylord Family Endowed Chair in International Communication and was the director of the Institute for Research and Training and the head of the journalism area in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.
Gross wrote the first Romanian textbooks on journalism and public relations used after the 1989 revolution that deposed the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, as well as the first scholarly books on the evolution of Romanian media and journalism. Gross was instrumental in establishing a journalism program at the University of Timisoara West, and also was among the group of academics that developed the first post-communist-era journalism program at the University of Bucharest.
“Peter has had an exceptional impact on journalistic education and Romanian democracy,” said Mike Wirth, dean of UT’s College of Communication and Information. “Receipt of this award serves as confirmation of the critical role he has played in helping Romania build a strong fourth estate.”
C O N T A C T :
Charles Primm, UT Knoxville Media and Internal Relations (865-974-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org)