A Q&A with Dick Tauber, ’67

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When Dick Tauber, ’67, arrived at Denison in 1963, Beta Theta Pi was one of the few fraternities that welcomed him with open arms.

We recently asked him about his time at Denison and what he is doing today. Read on to find out!

When and why did you choose Beta Theta Pi as your fraternity?            
In 1963, the tradition at Denison was that “rush” took place in the first few weeks of school. Within days of starting college, the first time on our own for most of us, we ran around like crazy to all the houses for rush parties. They tried to impress you and you tried to impress them. Beta, even though it was regarded as the “jock house” wanted me to join, and I did. A few other houses did too, but I was most taken by Beta Theta Pi and the active brothers I met during Rush.

Beta was one of the few houses on campus that, at the time, would rush and admit Jews. There was one other Jewish Brother, Steve Rose, who spent a lot of time with me and I became convinced that Beta would be the best fit for me at Denison, even though I wasn’t a jock.

What do you remember about living in the house?   
I remember that the Brothers mostly shared a dormer on the top floor that was all double beds. Later, because I had one of the highest grade point averages in the house, I got a single room for my senior year. I don’t remember much, but I do remember it was better having a single! If the choice of sleeping rooms is still dependent on grades, I suggest studying hard.

Tell us about your educational path and how Beta Theta Pi supported you academically.

I was admitted to Denison under a special BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) program that was less stringent regarding academic requirements. I was a BFA major in Theatre Arts. After my sophomore year, I elected to continue as a regular BA student and graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts.

I tended to have a very different set of classes, along with working on plays in the evenings. That often meant helping with building scenery or rehearsing at night. I didn’t quite match the typical academic or social schedule as the other Brothers, but there were a couple that I remember being friendly and supportive.

What have you been up to since graduating?              
Following graduation, I spent a year at the University of Michigan working on a Masters in Theatre Management. I left Ann Arbor without completing that degree and entered a MFA program in Theatre at Columbia University. That was followed a year later by work in the Off-Broadway theatre world in New York City, which is where I met my wife, Marjorie.

Marjorie and I married in 1972. After she graduated from Bank Street College with a Masters in Special Education, we left New York City for five years, heading to upstate New York, where Marjorie worked at Darrow School, a private boarding high school. In our second year there, I joined the faculty as Director of Development for the next three years, then as Dean of Students in our final year at Darrow.

That led to a job offer in Atlanta, GA to work for a Denison classmate, Rick Brown, as a satellite desk trainee in 1981. I spent the next 32-plus years working at CNN, first in the Satellites and Circuits department where I gradually advanced to Assistant Director and then Director of the department, and later as Vice President of Transmission Systems and New Technology for the CNN News Group. Essentially, my work revolved around getting the news back to Atlanta from anywhere in the world.

In my career at CNN, I received industry recognition and a number of awards. They included Emmy Awards from the American Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1986 for satellite transmission coverage of the TBS Goodwill Games for Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., and in 2002 for CNN’s coverage of the events of September 11, 2001, a technical Emmy in 2007 for CNN’s development of a mobile, IP newsgathering system. I also received the following:

~ 2005: Dupont Award for CNN’s tsunami coverage

~ 2008: the annual Mentor Award from SSPI (Space and Satellite Professionals International)          
~ 2010: the SSPI Industry Innovator Award for work related to satellite interference mitigation      
~ 2010: the Broadcasting & Cable magazine Technology Industry Leadership Award for a career dedicated for moving forward with the newest and most advanced industry technology
~ 2013: I was inducted into the SSPI Hall of Fame for my 32+ years of industry work at CNN

I’ve was a Peabody Awards recipient in 2005 for contributions to CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as well as 2008 for contributions to CNN’s coverage of the primary races and presidential election, and in 2010 for contributions for coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill.

In 1978, Marjorie and I had our first child, Ethan, and five years later, his sister, Elizabeth. Ethan is an environmentalist living at an ecovillage outside of Lisbon and Elizabeth is a working actress living in L.A. My wife, Marjorie, contracted ALS in the early 90s and succumbed to this incurable ailment in February of 1997. We had a wonderful 24 years together before she passed away.

After retiring from CNN at the end of 2013, I remain active in several industry non-profits, helping to plan monthly programs related to the satellite and media industries – SSPI-SE, the Society of Satellite Professionals International, Southeast Chapter, and SMPTE, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

You are a donor to the fraternity. What motivates you to donate to Beta Theta Pi?         
I contribute to both the national Beta Theta Pi Foundation and the Langston State Curtis Memorial Fund of the Alpha Eta Chapter. I make modest gifts to both organizations because all educational organizations need whatever level of support they can garner to meet their goals. I do what I can.

Do you have any advice for the current Brothers?      
Take advantage of your good fortune for being at Denison and joining a great fraternity. Make good friends and don’t let a great educational opportunity go to waste. Learning is better than drinking!

To reconnect with Dick, you can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..