Longtime media studies faculty member Thom Storey, founder of Belmont’s journalism program, passed away Wednesday morning following a recurrence of cancer.
Storey was a member of the Belmont faculty since 1985 and served as chair of Belmont’s Media Studies department. After graduating from St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York, he began his journalistic career as a sports writer and columnist. He then moved on to covering schools, the courts and public affairs. He earned his master’s degree from Iowa State University. As a graduate student he advised the university’s daily newspaper and worked part time covering sports for the Ames Tribune. For most of his career at Belmont, Storey worked professionally as a copy editor and travel editor at The Tennessean.
Storey received the Belmont’s Chaney Distinguished Professor Award for superior teaching and was named Journalism Educator of the Year by the Southeast Journalism Conference.
Former Nashville Scene editor Steve Cavendish, a 1993 alumnus and former Vision editor, noted on Twitter, “I was lucky enough to encounter Thom in the fall of 1989 when I showed up at the offices of the student newspaper. I was a cocky political science major who was probably headed for law school. He opened my eyes to journalism as a profession. He also taught me a lot about truth, ethics and the importance of media credibility… I have spent the last quarter century trying to make Thom Storey proud. An ‘attaboy’ from Thom meant everything. If you’re lucky enough to have a mentor like that in your career, you should tell them what they’ve meant to you. They’ll appreciate it.”
Media studies faculty members were also quick to share their thoughts on their colleague:
“Thom was a great friend and a tremendous example of a servant leader.” —Rich Tiner
“I cannot believe I will never be able to see the bright smile Thom greeted me with every time I walked into the Media Studies suite. His presence in the office gave me a sense of ease and comfort, and I knew in my heart that I could rely on him for anything. He certainly was our fearless leader, who had our trust, love and respect, but more importantly, he was a great friend and wonderful human being who genuinely cared about people around him. As sad and devastated as I am, I take a little comfort in knowing that he has gone to a better place, where there is no more suffering. Thom, we’ll miss you and we love you.” —Hyangsook Lee
“Thom was humble, comical and wise. When he hired me in 2003, little did I know I would become one of his students. His leadership anchored the Department of Media Studies providing balance and integrity. We will truly miss him.” —Sybril Brown
“Thom was the glue that kept our diverse Media Studies Department functioning and always moving forward. He was an unbelievable department chair, colleague and friend. In addition to all of his responsibilities, he was the department psychologist… Thom had an impact on thousands of students over his career at Belmont University. He was respected by professionals, Belmont colleagues and students. We are truly blessed that Thom had such a profound effect on our lives and we will miss him, but we will never forget him.”—Rick Bengtson
Belmont’s student media, The Vision, posted this story on Storey along with remembrances from friends, current and former students and colleagues honoring Storey’s legacy as a journalist, educator and friend.
Visitation will be held Mon., Jan.15 from 1-4 p.m. at Cooks United Methodist Church (7919 Lebanon Rd, Mt Juliet, TN) with the service to follow at 4:30 p.m.
A scholarship fund has been created to honor Storey’s impact on the Belmont community. Memorial donations can be made here to: Thom Storey Scholarship at Belmont University. Checks may also be mailed to Belmont University, Office of Development, Fidelity Hall 105, 1900 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37212 (checks should be payable to Belmont University with “Thom Storey Scholarship” indicated on the memo line).