What was the Innovator?
The Innovator was a student newspaper published at Governors State University between March 1972 and October 2000. The newspaper featured student reporting, opinions, news, photos, poetry, and original graphics.
The newspaper was sometimes printed as The Innovator, but most often was titled Innovator.
How the Innovator Began
The first issue of the Innovator was printed in September 1971. It was an orientation issue of four pages that featured an introduction to Governors State University. After the first issue, Paul Hill, Director of Student Services, recommended a Communication Media be established to expose students to new learning.
In March of 1972, Bill Tate and a handful of others published volume one, number one of the paper and the Innovator was born. The student newspaper was experimental, flexible and innovative. It was meant to show the views of the GSU community in their language.
Text adapted from the March 27, 1978 issue p.2
In a 1988 Innovator interview with Grant Steeve, he named himself as one of the founders of the Innovator along with Bill Tate, Robert Blue, Tony Wardynski*, and Kathy Czyz. He reflected, "In those early days this newspaper was like an amoeba or group of cells; each person that contributed was a vital part..." He noted that the group devoted time and effort to the success of the paper. "Quite a bit of time, and for no pay. It was on an individual basis, a learning experience paper contributing to our background. It broadened horizons, a catalyst for appreciation for life and sharing it.
Text adapted from the March 21, 1988 issue p. 9.
*The article misspelled Tony Wardynski as Tony Borzynski.
Herbert Williams and Robert Blue
Thanks to the energies of two graduate students Herbert Williams and Robert Blue, the Innovator has survived despite the many hardships levied upon them and the student initiated project which they are struggling to keep afloat and viable for all students. We need your support and participation. Thanks to Mr. Bill Berry and his journalism classes, a steady flow of information is now available to the entire student community.
Williams and Blue are the innovators who have made it happen for the Innovator. Again we would like to invite (demand) students to actively help develop the Innovator and provide a model of cooperation and accomplishment for the entire student body.
Text adapted from an Open Letter printed in the January 17, 1977 issue p. 11. (emphasis added)
Who Named the Innovator?
According to a 1984 article in the paper, Mike Weis claimed he gave the Innovator its name.
"As best as I can remember, I was sitting in an area like the cafeteria and I saw a poster that said if you'd like to think of a name for the new school newspaper, write it down and throw it in the box." About two weeks later Weis said there was another poster listing the 20 or so names submitted, and the students were to vote for their choice. Then, said Weis, "In another two weeks the newspaper came out with the name I had submitted on it."
That was it. There was no recognition, no mention of who had submitted the "winning name". Weis commented though, that it really wasn't a contest but "more like a help us out type of thing." Weis also noted that he cannot prove what he says.
Weis said that he came up with the idea of naming the paper the "Innovator" because newspapers at the time were calling GSU the "new, innovative university."
Read the whole article in the June 18, 1984 issue on p. 7.
Mike's story was told again in the February 24, 1986 issue on p. 9. He said, "The Innovator name is about the only thing that has remained unchanged at the university...The school is a heck of a lot more structured. I remember taking a class- Human Sensitivity. We touched toes and hummed." When the reporter asked how he felt now about having named the Innovator, Mike grinned, "I feel real proud of that."
In this article Mike's last name is spelled Wais, rather than Weis.