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Joan Wagner Beck

Joan Wagner Beck (BSJ45, MSJ47) was a member of the inaugural class of the Medill Hall of Achievement in 1997.

In her career, she wrote an op-ed column for the Chicago Tribune and became the first woman to have a regular column on the editorial or op-ed pages. She started with the Tribune as a feature writer, pioneering new types of coverage in the areas of medicine, education, sociology, psychology and contemporary life, and from 1961 to 1972 she wrote a syndicated column about children. She became the first woman to be in charge of a daily section at the Tribune when she designed and edited the Tempo section. From 1975 to 1992, Beck served as a member of the Tribune’s editorial board, the first woman to serve in that capacity.

Beck also wrote four books: “Best Beginnings,” “Effective Parenting,” “Is My Baby All Right?” with Dr. Virginia Apgar, and “How to Raise a Brighter Child.” She was a life trustee of Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois and was elected to the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. In 1994, she earned the award for best commentary writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Beck died in 1998.