Troy journalism professor dies in hospital

Published 6:31 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

When Troy University students return to class this Wednesday, they will be going without one familiar face.

Chris Warden, 51, a seven-year assistant professor of journalism at Troy University, died late Sunday in UAB Hospital.

After he broke his hip early last week, Warden, who had hemophilia, underwent surgery that suffered complications and ultimately led to his death.

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Warden came to Troy after working as the editorial page editor of the Investor’s Business Daily, as a congressional press aid and for a national journalism foundation. He also wrote a column published weekly in The Messenger.

Steve Padgett, director of Troy’s Hall School of Journalism, said Warden played an important role as the department’s print journalism professor.

“He had climbed some really large mountains and conquered them (before he came here), and when he came here, it was very invigorating to him to be where he’s working with the next generation of journalists,” Padgett said. “He’s going to be deeply, deeply missed.”

Padgett said Warden’s teaching style was one that was hard to match: he taught the truth.

“I would say that probably one of the more difficult positions I’ve had to fill was always the print journalism field position because so many people that teach print journalism really teach agenda journalism,” Padgett said. “He taught the facts. The truth was more important than the agenda, and that’s really hard to find in someone.”

But it wasn’t just his teaching methods in the classroom that Padgett said made Warden such an asset.

As the adviser for Troy’s student newspaper, the Tropolitan, and yearbook, the Palladium, Warden dedicated his life to his students.

“It’s something you could tell he had found what he really wanted to do and where he really wanted to be,” Padgett said.

Just before his death, Warden completed a book on economics in journalism, expected to publish this year.

The family will hold a memorial service on Troy’s campus, but no times have been announced yet.