First dean of UNR J-School, Travis Linn, dies in Reno
RENO — Travis Linn, a former CBS newsman who was the first dean of the journalism school at the University of Nevada, Reno, died Friday. He was 64.
Linn was the Southwest Bureau Chief for CBS News in Dallas during the 1960s and 1970s. He became the first dean of UNR’s Reynolds School of Journalism in 1984.
Linn died at Washoe Medical Center after a brief illness, school officials said.
He helped the school develop its first courses in Internet reporting, programming and communication. In recent years, he was UNR’s leading voice in broadcast news and new media. He also taught media ethics.
Linn stepped down as dean in 1990, but served as acting dean on two other occasions, most recently last year. In recognition of his contributions, the school’s new media lab was named in his honor.
“He was an absolute cornerstone to our school. His loss is a tragedy for all of us,” said Warren Lerude, UNR professor of journalism and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
“He was a kind and decent man who had great vision,” he said.
Provost John Frederick said Linn was the “heart and soul” of the school.
“He was the one that everyone in the school — everyone in the university — could go to for wisdom and friendship,” Frederick said.
“He had a special talent for seeing the humorous side of life. I know that most people will always remember him for his entertaining stories, but the best story was Travis himself. It is painful to imagine the university without him.”
Linn was a Harvard graduate who worked at WFAA-TV in Dallas before joining CBS. He was a strong supporter of the Reno’s public television station, KNPB, and its initiatives.
He served as the station’s moderator for the mid-1990s gathering of Nevada’s six living governors.
In typical fashion, Linn created an atmosphere of give-and-take that surprised many of the participants, several of whom had been fierce political rivals, Lerude said.
“These were people who had been old political foes, who had unseated each other in dramatic and quite personal campaigns,” Lerude said.
“Travis’ warm wit and great intelligence relaxed these former governors to the point of them enjoying each other’s presence for the greater good of Nevada an extraordinary achievement for a moderator.”
School officials said funeral arrangements were pending.
Linn is survived by his wife, Sheila, and three sons, Stephen, Larry and John.