Wichita State journalism professor Les Anderson dies

Journalist and teacher Les Anderson died Saturday night.

Anderson, 62, was a professor at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication, where he taught journalism since 1977.

Lou Heldman, interim director of the Elliott School, said family members reported Anderson suffered a heart attack and died en route to the hospital at 7:15 p.m. Anderson had previously suffered a heart attack more than a year ago, Heldman said.

A public vigil was set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in front of Elliott Hall at WSU, Heldman said.

Anderson’s death came just two weeks after the Elliott School held a fundraiser to name an endowment fund in his honor.

“He changed all our lives,” Heldman said.

Anderson’s Facebook page filled with condolences from family, friends and former students late Saturday night.

After working at The Eagle from 1971 to 1974, Anderson helped start two weekly newspapers: the Wichita Sun and later the Ark Valley News in Valley Center, which he and his wife Nancy sold in 2001.

A past president of the Kansas Press Association, Anderson received that organization’s awards for writing excellence, outstanding mentor and service to community.

He also received the WSU Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004. He served as faculty adviser for the student chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the newly formed Public Relations Society of America.

Anderson and his wife have five children and seven grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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