Dillon Smith (BSJ ’63, MSJ ’64), a member of the Medill Board of Advisers and Medill Hall of Achievement, died Friday at his Naples, Fla., home. He was 71.
Smith spent 15 years at WMAQ-TV (NBC) in Chicago, where he oversaw the highly acclaimed series “On Stage on 5” and the three-time Emmy award-winning program “You.” He won five consecutive Emmy awards from 1975 to 1979 for Outstanding Editorial Achievement. While Smith served as program director, WMAQ-TV won more Chicago Emmy Awards than any other television station. In 1976, a documentary he produced on the criminal justice system won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. Smith left the station in 1984 and established his own television production company, Dillon Smith Communications.
Smith is a former president of the Medill Alumni Association and received the Alumni Service Award from Northwestern in 1983. As an adjunct faculty member, he taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at Medill. Medill Voice, a weekly digest from Medill, sent an email at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday with an obituary for Dillon and was soon followed by theChicago Sun-Times. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder also devoted a blog post to Smith’s legacy early Tuesday.
Smith is survived by his wife, Patricia; four children, Colleen Lenderman, Lisa Fulton, Kevin Smith, Kerry Smith; and 10 grandchildren.
A memorial mass will be held Thursday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams, Chicago, Ill.