Dr. Howard Rusk Long, ISWNE co-founder and longtime leader, served on the faculty of the University of Missouri for 10 years before coming to Southern Illinois University in 1953 as chairman of the Department of Journalism. He was instrumental in the growth of the journalism program at SIU and in the development of the campus newspaper.
ISWNE began with 13 weekly editors meeting in Carbondale, Ill., in 1955. H.R. founded Grassroots Editor five years later, created SIU's Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courage in journalism, and gave life to the Golden Quill Award for excellence in editorial writing. He stressed the international aspect of ISWNE and organized a trip to England and Ireland in 1965 and a tour of the Orient in 1969.
H.R. retired from SIU's School of Journalism in 1974 and died in 1988 at the age of 82.