Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

NEWSLETTER
Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Former SMPA professor, research award namesake dies at 80

Christopher Sterling, pictured here in 2016, was a professor of media and public affairs at the University from 1982 to 2016.
Olivia Anderson | Hatchet Photographer
Christopher Sterling, pictured here in 2016, was a professor of media and public affairs at the University from 1982 to 2016.

Christopher Sterling, a professor emeritus of media and public affairs and the former associate dean of graduate affairs at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, died earlier this month. He was 80.

Sterling, a professor of media and public affairs at the University from 1982 to 2016, died July 1, according to a University release last week. Sterling is also one of the namesakes of the Manheim-Sterling Undergraduate Research Prize, an award created in 2012 to support mentored undergraduate research in the School of Media and Public Affairs, the release states.

Sterling was born in the District in 1943 and grew up in Wisconsin, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor of science degree in political science in 1965, according to his faculty profile page. Sterling’s faculty page states that he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in communication and radio television in 1967 and 1969, respectively.

Sterling authored seven books over the course of his career, according to the release. The release states that he received the Distinguished Education Service Award from the Broadcast Education Association in 1992, and the association’s Distinguished Scholarship Award in 2005.

Sterling joined the University on the Ides of March in 1982, according to his faculty profile. The page states that he served as the associate dean for graduate affairs at CCAS from 1994 to 2001. Sterling retired in July 2016.

SMPA Director Peter Loge said Sterling’s legacy will continue through his namesake research prize.

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of Professor Sterling to SMPA, CCAS and the George Washington University,” he said in the release.

Frank Sesno, the director of strategic initiatives and the former director of SMPA, said Sterling was devoted to the school, which he helped create as it was formed in 1995.

“Chris was an exceptional colleague, teacher, scholar, and friend,” Sesno said. “His resonant voice and deep laugh amplified his wit and wisdom.”

Sterling is survived by his wife, Ellen, and his daughters, Robin and Jen, according to the release. The release states that Sterling’s family requests people make donations to the U.S. National Park Service to support the places the Sterlings “loved so much.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
Donate to The GW Hatchet