CMU honors retired Circuit Court judge

Retired Judge Fred M. Mester was recently inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame at Central Michigan University. The CMU Journalism Hall of Fame "recognizes those who have made a difference in the world, have remained true to the ethics and standards modeled at CMU, and have shown outstanding dedication to the communities they serve." according to the Hall of Fame committee's website.

The Hall of Fame primarily exists to honor CMU alumni who studied journalism, however, Mester, a 1959 graduate, of CMU received an "honorary recognition" for his exemplary work with the Lem Tucker Scholarship and Speaker Series. Mester is in the CMU Military Hall of Fame and was awarded the Centennial Award on CMU's One Hundredth Anniversary. CMU also awarded Mester an honorary doctorate degree. Mester is a retired circuit court judge who served 27 years on the Oakland County Circuit Court. During his college days, Mester was good friends with Lem Tucker, a journalism student. Tucker succeeded Mester as CMU Student Body President in 1960.

Tucker went on to success as one of the first African-American broadcast journalists, receiving several Emmy Awards, sitting on the Meet the Press Panel and serving as director of the Saigon Bureau in Vietnam, before passing away in 1991 at the age of 52. In 1996, Mester approached several CMU journalism alumni with an idea to establish an annual event in the Metro Detroit area honoring Tucker, with an award benefiting minority students who wanted to major in journalism. The idea developed into the Lem Tucker Scholarship--which every year since 1997 has awarded a 4-year scholarship to an incoming CMU student who has demonstrated their dedication to "promoting minority excellence and success in print or broadcast journalism."

An annual dinner and Speakers Series was established to promote the scholarship program, as well as serving as a venue for awarding the scholarship.

According to Robert Rulong's remarks at Mester's Hall of Fame induction, "...Mester turned the annual Lem Tucker Dinner into the most prestigious CMU event ever conducted in the Detroit area," working with CMU alumni and the CMU Journalism Department. The featured speakers were of national renown (Ed Bradley, Al Roker, Robin Roberts, to name a few) and the evening's highlight was always the introduction of the newest Lem Tucker Scholarship winner.

Mester, in accepting his induction into the Journalism Hall of Fame said "the honor reflects on many who have worked together over these past 15 years to establish the Lem Tucker Scholarship and Speaker Series."

"It took a team to make the Lem Tucker Legacy a reality," concluded Mester in his address to the Hall of Fame dinner.

Published: Fri, May 6, 2011