William A. Dorman

Tower Bridge

William A. Dorman first encountered Sacramento State in 1960 as a 19-year-old transfer student from a community college. In the nearly 50 years since, the campus has been a hugely important part of his life. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism in 1963 and took an M.J. at U.C. Berkeley in 1965. He joined the Sac State faculty in 1967 in Journalism and transferred to the Government Department in 1996, taking full retirement in 2007. During his career at Sac State, Professor Dorman played an active role in establishing a number of programs, among them the Educational Opportunity Program, of which he is proudest. He also designed and introduced a number of courses, including War, Peace and the Mass Media, which was the first such course in the country, and he has always taken the most pride in his teaching.

As a scholar, Professor Dorman developed a national reputation as one of a handful of academics working in the area of mass media and their relationship to American defense and foreign policy. He has written extensively on foreign affairs and on press performance for publications ranging from Columbia Journalism Review to World Policy Journal. In 1985, he was invited to contribute the article on journalism in the nuclear age to the 40th anniversary issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He is co-author with Mansour Farhang of a ground breaking book, the U.S. Press and Iran (U.C. Press, 1987) and was a member of the 1990-91 Social Science Research Council's panel on the Press and Foreign Policy, which produced one of the most highly regarded studies of the 1991 war with Iraq, Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War. More recently, he contributed to a similar volume on the 2003 war with Iraq.

Prof. Dorman has lectured extensively in the United States and universities ranging from Stanford and Washington State University to Princeton and Rutgers, and abroad in Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Singapore and Rome. His media appearances include the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Company, National Public Radio, and on "Bill Moyer's Journal" for PBS. His many presentations at professional meetings and conferences have included papers at the Middle East Studies Association, the American Library Association and the American Studies Association.

During his 40-year-career at Sac State, he received every major award the campus offers for teaching, scholarship and intellectual leadership. He is the only faculty member to have been twice named to deliver the John C. Livingston Annual Faculty Lecture (1995 and 2006-07). in Spring 2002 he became the first Sacramento State faculty member to win The California State University's most prestigious honor, the Wang Family Excellence Award. 


"My philosophy in the classroom has always been that the last thing higher education ought to do is simply provide society with spare parts. Our most useful task is to make our students aware of the forces seeking to define them and help them develop the willingness and talents necessary to challenge these forces when times demand it. In other words, I tried to make the same difference in the lives of my students that so many faculty at Sacramento State had made in mine."


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