Ex-Lamp adviser dies at 70


Former Lamp adviser Paul Povse with former Lamp student Ryan Wilson

Zach Aiello, Editor-in-Chief

Former Lamp adviser Paul Povse died Feb. 14, 2018, at the age of 70. Povse advised student journalists at Lincoln Land between 2012 and 2014, but he continued to mentor several students even after leaving Lincoln Land.

Povse was known among students as a passionate adviser who never shied away from showing students the way in writing and editing in the classroom and The Lamp office. His use of witty catchphrases and nicknames for staff members left lasting impressions.

“Paul genuinely cared about his students, and the work he was doing,” said Amber Berman, a former Student Life employee. “He invested such time and energy into the roles he served at LLCC, trusting in his students that it would pay off.”

A State Journal-Register journalist for 37 years, Povse left the newspaper in 2007. He began teaching as an adjunct at his alma mater Southern Illinois University at Carbondale before teaching as an adjunct at Lincoln Land and advising The Lamp.

Povse formed strong connections with Austin Miller, Lamp editor from 2013 to 2014.

Miller said Povse spent many times talking with him about local sports teams.

With him being a Cardinals fan and me being a Yankees fan, we had plenty to jaw about,” Miller said. “I always tried to be a few minutes early for that class, just so we could talk sports for a bit.”

Miller also added: “At the end of the semester, he offered advice, to anyone who wanted it, about whether or not he thought they could be journalists. His note to me said that I could with continued persistence and studying, and that meant a lot to me.”

Ryan Wilson, a former Lamp writer from 2013 to 2014 and editor from 2014 to 2015, explained Povse’s teaching style: “He dedicated his time, his craft, and skill to making sure students were happy with their content and product. He would find a way to critique their paper but still able to make them smile and laugh at the same time.”

Povse was passionate about teaching, Wilson said.

“Paul not only helped you find your own voice,” Wilson said. “But also (taught) confidence and how to make a student believe in themself.”

Wilson’s time on The Lamp staff was filled with many nights of laying out the paper with Povse. The two became close during their time working together. After Wilson transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the pair would meet up for the occasional sports talk.

“Whatever projects or stories we were working on, any idea I had, he would seem so excited about it, even when I didn’t see the potential” said Jordan Minder, a former Lamp photographer and assistant editor from 2014 to 2015.

His openness and sense of care for people was visible to anyone who ran into him,

“Anytime I passed him in the hallway, he would stop and ask me how things were going, and even run a few ideas for the paper,” Minder said.

Current Lamp adviser Tim McKenzie remembered meeting Povse at a job fair while in school when Povse still worked for SJ-R.

“He encouraged me to apply for an internship with the SJ-R and its sister publication, the Peoria Journal Star. I wouldn’t have known about the Peoria opportunity if not for him,” McKenzie said.“Working at the Journal Star was one of the best learning experiences of my life as a reporter and writer, so I give him a lot of credit for being a key person in my professional development.”

One of Povse’s writing idols throughout his career was David Carr, a former New York Times journalist who passed away in 2015.

Ryan Wilson shared a profile about Carr on his Facebook page as a tribute to Povse: “I think Carr like Paul, was very human-oriented, and they didn’t let journalism override that they were human beings.”

Povse is survived by his wife, Donna Povse; daughter, Nora Povse Lauer (Stuart); granddaughter, Evelyn Lauer; mother, Vivian Povse; sister, Arlene Beveridge; several brothers and sisters-in-law.


Zach Aiello can be reached at [email protected]