VIGNETTE: DR. RAY TASSIN

respect for the founder, and don’t call him Ray 

By Joe Hight, 2013 Inductee 

Ray Tassin demanded the same respect in the classroom as he did as a Naval Reserve commander. 

The World War II veteran, chairman of the Central State University Journalism Department, founder of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, and member since 1983 stood in front of his classes in suit, usually brown, and tie, usually thin, at the beginning of each semester. He jingled change in his pockets. He glared at the quiet room of students. 

He then taught his first lesson—about respect. 

“You will not call me Ray. You will not call me Tassin. You will not call me Mr. Tassin,” he said. “You will call me Dr. Tassin.” 

I would later learn he had a good sense of humor, was shy at times, even soft-hearted. But he always defended his students, including those he would occasionally reprimand, like me. 

No matter what, however, I always remembered to call him “Dr. Tassin.” 

And not because he demanded it that first day in class.

Photograph used for a story in The Daily Oklahoman newspaper. “Ray Tassin, director of publications at Central State College, can now put a ‘Dr.’ in front of his name.” Creator unknown. January 21, 1964. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.