Alecia Swasy, a veteran business journalist, has been selected as the next Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at Washington and Lee University.
Swasy, currently the Sleeman Scholar in Business Journalism at the University of Illinois, will join W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications on July 1.
She will oversee one of the department’s signature programs, its highly successful business journalism sequence, which was launched in 2002 to provide students with specialized education in journalism with an emphasis on business. The program bridges two historic strengths of the university, its accredited Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics.
Swasy will teach courses on reporting on business and the economy, coordinate visits by distinguished business journalists, and oversee an internship program that provides students with experience at financial news outlets.
The position was made possible by a $1.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.
Dean of the College Suzanne Keen appointed Swasy upon the recommendation by a search committee headed by Professor Toni Locy. Swasy was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to replace Pam Luecke, who is beginning phased retirement in fall 2016.
“Alecia will bring tremendous energy and creativity to this program,” said Luecke, who is also head of the department. “Her professional credentials and connections are perfect for the position, and her recent experience in academia has prepared her well for the classroom.”
Since 2014, Swasy has been teaching business and financial journalism at the University of Illinois. She holds a Ph.D. in journalism studies from the University of Missouri, where she also earned a master’s degree. Her undergraduate degree is from Pennsylvania State University, where she was editor of the Daily Collegian.
Swasy has more than two decades of experience reporting, writing and editing at The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), and the Virginian-Pilot.
She also is the author of “Changing Focus: Kodak and the Battle to Save a Great American Company” and “Soap Opera: The Inside Story of Procter & Gamble,” which Fortune magazine named as one of the Best Business Books of the Year when it was published.