Mr. Richard W. Thames ’75 – Charlotte, NC
Richard Thames is the retired executive editor of the Charlotte Observer. More recently, he taught journalism as a member of the faculty in the Knight School of Communication for Queens University of Charlotte.
Newsrooms under Thames’ leadership won numerous national awards, including two Robert F. Kennedy awards for public service, the George Polk Award, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business journalism. His newsrooms were also three times Pulitzer Prize finalists. In 2018, students named Thames “most outstanding faculty member” in Queens University’s Knight School of Communication.
His journalism career spans more than 40 years of assignments in Charlotte, Miami and the Midwest. Along the way, Thames helped pioneer solutions-based reporting, now practiced by journalists around the world.
He also led the Observer’s transformation to digital journalism. He recently completed a manuscript about his experiences for a book championing the value of local news in our communities. Thames recently completed two terms as a trustee for the North Carolina Humanities. He is past president of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and past president of the North Carolina Press Association.
Thames holds an AB in English from Pfeiffer University and a MS in Communication from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He and his wife, Debbie, live in Belmont, NC. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.