Worth McDougald, a UGA faculty member for more than four decades and Peabody director from 1963 to 1991, died April 19 at an Athens hospital at age 82.
“Worth McDougald is a giant of 20th century UGA history,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “He laid the foundation for what has become the most prized honor in broadcasting, the Peabody Awards. His focus on quality as the guiding criterion informs the selection process even today. As great as his impact on the broadcast industry has been, his impact on students and colleagues in the Grady College may have been even greater. For 42 years he served this university with dignity, dedication and humor, and we will miss him very much.”
Cully Clark, dean of Grady College, called McDougald “a Grady institution” and “a remarkable presence” in the college.
During his tenure on the UGA faculty, McDougald headed what was then known as the department of radio, television and film, and developed and served as first director of the university’s Instructional Resources Center. He also served as a member of the UGA Athletic Association board of directors and was named to emeritus status upon his retirement.
McDougald served as director of the Peabody Awards program from 1963 until his retirement in 1991, when he was named director emeritus. Under his leadership, the Peabody program developed in many ways, including the establishment of rotating boards of specialists who select the awards, and the use of well-known media figures as hosts for the annual awards presentation. He also was instrumental in the archiving and digital saving of thousands of important radio and television programs dating to the 1940s, when the Peabodys were inaugurated.
McDougald is survived by his wife, Charlotte; son, Bill, daughters, Susan and Missy, several grandchildren and brothers, Don and Mike McDougald.