Former Winthrop professor remembered as ‘legend’
A former Winthrop University professor who worked as a CBS war correspondent during the Vietnam War died Monday.
Haney Howell was 75, according to WRHI. Howell worked at WRHI as a newsman during his career.
Howell joined Winthrop in 1988, serving in the mass communication department for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2012.
Howell started Winthrop’s student-run campus television news show Winthrop Closeup and was instrumental in creating the broadcast journalism program Winthrop has today.
“He helped build the broadcasting section of our department from some of its earliest years and made it into one of the best, if not the best, in the state,” said Guy Reel, mass communication department chair at Winthrop and longtime peer of Howell. “Students talk of him as if he was a legend. He really is a legend and he’s going to be sorely missed. It was really a shock to all of us.”
In 2011, Howell received the South Carolina Broadcasters Association’s Honorary Lifetime membership Award, according to a release from Winthrop. His name is listed on a commemorative wall in Winthrop’s Johnson Hall.
Reel said Howell left a lasting impression on students with stories of his experience covering the Vietnam War for CBS from Cambodia.
Howell also worked in New Delhi, India, and held news roles in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, according to a release from Winthrop. He also participated in the Poynter Institute Seminar on Broadcast Journalism in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 1989, Howell wrote the novel “Road Runners: Combat Journalists in Cambodia.”
“Haney Howell was an inspiration to all of our students because he had so much experience,” Reel said. “He had some amazing experiences not just as a journalist but also personally.”
Larry Timbs worked in the mass communication department with and retired at the same time as Howell.
Timbs said the two had much in common. He and Howell were Vietnam-era U.S. Air Force veterans and both hailed from Tennessee, Timbs said.
Timbs said Howell was knowledgeable about the industry he taught.
“He seemed to personally know everyone in the country who really mattered in broadcast journalism, including the late Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and so many other stars of his profession,” Timbs wrote in a message to The Herald. “He used those personal relationships to advance the education of thousands of Winthrop students.”
Howell’s passion for broadcast was evident to those who knew him.
Winthrop alumnus Andrew Kiel, class of 2009, said it was Howell who led him on his first tour of Winthrop’s mass communication department.
“That was the reason I chose Winthrop,” Kiel said. “Haney’s excitement over a student interested in broadcasting was palpable. you can tell he cared about his students. You could tell he was very passionate about broadcasting.”
Kiel, who now works at Williams and Fudge, spent part of his career at WRHI. He said Howell worked there while teaching at Winthrop to keep up to date on the industry.
“He was very active in not only teaching his students about the trade they were trying to learn, but also trying to stay up to snuff about the trends in the industry and not just something that was done 10 to 15 years ago,” Kiel said.
Haney also helped ensure more students could benefit from Winthrop’s broadcasting program by urging the school to build a wheelchair-accessible studio on the first floor of Johnson, Kiel said.
“I really liked how Haney took people like that under his wing and tried to make an experience for them they would remember,” Kiel said.
Timbs said he recalls a time Howell took in a student when she had nowhere else to go.
“That’s just the kind of man he was - always caring, giving, helping others,” Timbs wrote. “Not just a professor but a loved mentor who wrapped his arms around his students.”
Facebook was filled Monday with notes from Winthrop alumni and professors who say Howell impacted them in some way.
“Thank you Haney Howell for your belief in me and every other student, listener, watcher and reader that you were able to touch in your two careers,” former Winthrop student Mario Washington wrote in a public Facebook post Monday. “You were more than a teacher and mentor. Those words aren’t strong enough to describe your impact on our lives and I’m forever grateful to you.”