Newhouse dean dies after struggle with cancer

Newhouse dean dies after struggle with cancer

Lorraine Branham, 66, died Tuesday morning after cancer kept her out of work for most of the school year.
Published: April 2, 2019
Toner Prize Celebration Awards 2016 President Barack Obama Keynote Speaker Alec MacGillis Prize Winner
Lorraine Branham spoke at the 2016 Toner Awards for political reporting, where Barack Obama was the keynote speaker.

Lorraine Branham, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, died this morning after a battle with cancer. She was 66. SU Chancellor Kent Syverud informed the student community via an email Tuesday afternoon.

Branham served as dean of Newhouse since 2008 after working at the University of Texas as the director of the School of Journalism. Branham previously worked for 25 years as a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other papers. She replaced David Rubin as dean of Newhouse.

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Branham was responsible for an $18 million fundraising campaign to renovate the Newhouse II building. Her fundraising also created the Newhouse Studio and Innovation Center featuring Dick Clark Studios, the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation and the Diane and Bob Miron Digital News Center. The Bandier Program for music business also moved to Newhouse under Branham’s tenure.

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Oprah Winfrey (center) with Sandra and Alan Gerry and Lorraine Branham (right) in 2014 at the Newhouse Studio & Innovation Center dedication.

Branham also oversaw the creation of a sports communication emphasis for students to add to their majors. Many prominent sports media personalities, including CBS’ Ian Eagle and NBC’s Mike Tirico, graduated from Newhouse’s broadcast program.

Syracuse University students faculty and alum have expressed their grief at Branham’s passing over social media. Charisse L’Pree, who is currently a professor at Newhouse tweeted. “We lost an icon today.”

DeArbea Walker, a Syracuse alum shared how Branham inspired her to attend Newhouse because she was able to see “a black woman head of one of the top communication schools in the country.”

During her time at Syracuse, Branham was also responsible for the founding of The NewsHouse as a student-produced, web-based news source. On behalf of The NewsHouse staff, we thank her for her support for journalism and the education of young journalists.

A vigil will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday April 3 at Hendricks chapel in her honor.