- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Jack Simms, a journalist and author who helped build Auburn University’s journalism department, died Tuesday at the age of 89.

Simms was hired at Auburn in 1974 to head the university’s newly formed department of journalism. He went to the university after a 23-year career with The Associated Press. He served as AP’s deputy general sports editor in New York. He also served as AP’s bureau chief in Kentucky and in Boston.

Simms was beloved by students and colleagues for his quick wit and enthusiasm. He played a key role in the department’s first application for accreditation. He also developed the department’s “weed-out” class that required a score of 83 to pass.

“I honestly can say that I’ve never known anyone who didn’t love Jack Simms. Students would tell Jack years later how the class changed their lives, made them journalists,” said former Auburn journalism professor Ed Williams.

He retired from the university in 1992.

Simms was a World War II veteran and served in a Marine Corp. machine gun squad during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was one of several veterans honored this past weekend at the Auburn University football game.

He is the co-author of “Auburn: A Pictorial History of the Loveliest Village” along with former Auburn professor Mickey Logue.

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