UT Dallas Mourns Passing of Jon Senderling,
Retired Head of News and Information Office
Longtime Dallas Newspaper Editor and Corporate PR Executive
June 4, 2007
The University of Texas at Dallas today mourned the passing of Jon Senderling, a longtime Dallas newspaper editor and corporate public relations executive and the university’s former executive director of news and information.
Senderling, 66, died last evening at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas from complications of a stroke.
“Jon was a gentleman, a valued colleague and a highly professional communicator on behalf of UT Dallas,” said Dr. David E. Daniel, president of the university. “He impressed me with his foresight and thoughtful planning the first time I had occasion to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Dr. Franklyn Jenifer, who retired as UT Dallas president in 2005 said, “The University was very fortunate in attracting Jon and for having him in a leadership position for so many years. He was a true professional, dear friend and sage advisor who relished in telling the university's story to the public. Jon and his outstanding team played an essential role in transforming the university's reputation as ‘the best kept secret of educational excellence in Texas’ to the highly recognized star of Texas education. He will be truly missed.”
A native of Philadelphia, Senderling attended Temple University. He spent most of his career in the newspaper business, including stints as a reporter and editor with East Coast papers like the Trenton Times and years later with Newsday on Long Island. He held a prestigious one-year Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1970. He was a longtime employee of the Dallas Times Herald, which closed in 1991. He held a number of key positions at the Times Herald, including editor of the editorial page.
He later became a public relations executive at Electronic Data Systems at the computer services company’s headquarters in Plano, Texas.
Senderling joined UT Dallas in early 2001, reporting to then-president Jenifer. Senderling quickly built a news and information office and launched a campaign to publicize the growing university called “Start Spreading the News” – a line from a song made famous by one of his favorite entertainers, Frank Sinatra.
His aggressive media outreach efforts paid dividends for UT Dallas as news media locally, regionally and nationally began covering developments at the young institution, including the addition of Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies to its faculty and the university’s entry into such fields of research as nanotechnology, sickle cell disease and brain health, among others.
Senderling embraced the chess program at UT Dallas, which has fielded the nation’s top collegiate chess team multiple times over the past 10 years. A chess player himself, Senderling saw the program as a vehicle for promoting the university, as well as a metaphor for intellectual rigor and academic excellence.
His news releases about the chess team’s exploits in the Pan Am or Final Four tournaments, where national titles are typically won or lost, revealed his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the game.
Senderling was known by his colleagues as a talented, witty writer with a deft touch. At times, his sense of humor surfaced in his work for the university, as it did when he and a colleague penned an announcement that began “The University of Texas at Dallas announced today that its name is The University of Texas at Dallas - NOT The University of Texas, the University of Dallas, the University of North Texas in Dallas or even the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.” The tongue-in-cheek news release gently chided members of the local news media who had confused UT Dallas in their reporting with other institutions of higher education.
Besides writing, Senderling had a wide range of interests and talents. His love of baseball was well-known to those around him, but few were aware of the tryout he had with the Philadelphia Phillies organization as a young ballplayer. He was also an avid fan of horse racing and kept in his office at UT Dallas a statue of Secretariat, considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred racehorse of all time.
Senderling retired from UT Dallas in late 2005.
About UT Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.
Contact Steve McGregor, UTD, (972) 883-2293, [email protected]