Hugh Downs, the longtime news anchor, television host and namesake of ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, passed away at the age of 99 on Wednesday.
His legacy at the school extends beyond just his name. When arriving at the fourth floor of the Stauffer Building, students, faculty and visitors see the awards and photos from the illustrious career of the man who helped redefine the school.
Downs personified the ability to use communication skills to connect with people, and to make the most of what comes your way in life, faculty said.
Paul Mongeau, interim director at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, recalls Downs telling a student who asked for advice, “Alway remember this, all of life is plan B.”
His first job was at a radio station in Ohio, where he was born in1921. Beginning in the 1940’s and lasting until the end of the century, Downs would become a leading face and voice in American television.
Opportunities to go into television would come after serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, he would begin his news career on television as a broadcaster for NBC in Chicago, Mongeau said.
Plans would change again in 1960, when Downs found himself leading "Tonight Starring Jack Paer."
Two years later he would leave Paer’s show and would serve as a co-host on NBC’s program “Today” from 1962 to 1971 and on ABCs “20/20” from 1978 to 1999. He would also host the game show “Concentration” from 1958 to 1969.
Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.