Cole devoted his life to journalism, serving as the editor of the Morning Journal from 1979-2008. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2003.
Following his retirement from the Journal, he wrote about local affairs for the Chronicle-Telegram until his death in 2011. Posthumously, Cole received the Associated Press Society of Ohio Division III first place award for Best Columnist 2010.
The scholarship came about after a conversation between Lorain County Judges Jim Miraldi and Jim Burge.
“Judge Burge approached me with the idea shortly after John’s death,” Miraldi recalled. “Judge Burge had sparred in the media with John on a number of occasions, as a lawyer and later a judge. In spite of their philosophical differences on some issues, I think they both appreciated and respected each other’s ability to forcefully and entertainingly express their opinions.”
With the blessing of Cole’s wife, Lois Cole, a committee was formed through the Lorain County Community College Foundation to create and endow the scholarship.
“I believe John would have been humbled had he known of this journalism scholarship in his name. He also would have been thrilled. John was a journalist through and through and he never considered a career outside the newsroom,” Lois Cole said. “I can think of no better tribute to John than this scholarship which will play such an important role in helping students from the area begin careers in journalism at LCCC.”
The scholarship is important not only to honor Cole, but also to support the future of journalism, Miraldi said.
“People need to know what is going on in their communities and within their government. It is important that the information provided to the public is accurate. That is the job of the journalist,” Miraldi said. “It is critically important that there are students who want to learn about this responsibility and have an opportunity to do so, especially so at a time when economic pressures are changing the face of the media.”
The committee is planning a fundraiser to support the scholarship.
LCCC students studying journalism and high school seniors who plan to study journalism at LCCC may apply for the scholarship. Preference will be given to students who are involved in journalistic clubs or programs at LCCC. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2012. For more information on the scholarship or to download an application, visit www.lorainccc.edu/scholarships and scroll to the “Arts, Writing and Journalism” category, or call (440) 365-5222.
The Lorain County Community College Foundation manages more than 145 scholarship funds that provide approximately $600,000 each year in scholarships. More than half of the Foundation’s total invested funds (program and scholarship combined) are earmarked for student support. Tax deductible contributions to the John G. Cole Memorial Scholarship in Journalism may be made payable to the LCCC Foundation, 1005 North Abbe Rd., Elyria, OH 44035.