In this 2008 file photo, veteran journalist and Brandon University chancellor Henry Champ talks politics during a speech at the Victoria Inn. (FILE PHOTO)
Brandon University chancellor and veteran broadcaster Henry Champ died in Washington, D.C. Sunday at the age of 75.
Born in Hartney and raised in Brandon, Champ got his start as a journalist at the Brandon Sun in the early 1960s and was currently serving his second term as chancellor of BU.
"He was passionate about Manitoba and loved where he came from," BU president Deborah Poff said. "For all of his sophisticated ways, as a man who had been all over the world, he was a small-town guy and he loved Brandon University beyond measure — he cared so much for the place."
Poff said in the coming weeks the university will find an appropriate way to honour Champ.
"He had so much vitality and life and a great sense of humour," Poff said. "I am terribly saddened and it is a great loss for the university."
In his first role as the university’s sixth chancellor, Champ, who worked as CBC’s Washington correspondent until 2008, told nearly 250 people at a presentation that he was excited about the opportunity to use his experience from the broadcast world to help the school.
"I loved the job that I had, and I loved my career, but hey, there are things I want to do," Champ told the audience in 2008. "This is just golden, because it serves as a nice centre. I don’t kid myself that I’m going to run the university … but there are things that I may be able to help them with and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing."
Champ studied arts at Brandon University in 1957 and 1958, with his first journalism job in the sports department of the Brandon Sun.
"Brandon was the best possible place to grow up. It was a wonderful experience," he said. "I thought the lessons I learned here served me well — although I can’t give any examples — it’s just something I’ve always carried with me."
Champ’s contributions were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge worked with Champ and remembered him as a reporter other journalists could look up to.
"He was your classic old-time journalist," Mansbridge said.
"He’d seen it all, he had this vast knowledge of modern-day journalism still with the mix of sort of the old school."
"For him the drive was to get to the story. To bring forward as much detail as you could to a public who was anxious to hear it," Mansbridge said, adding Champ was always the first to share a good joke and eager to lend his ear — and advice — to young reporters.
"He was the real deal."
Mansbridge also said Champ remained a proud Canadian, even when living in the United States, and that Champ flew the Maple Leaf at his farm outside Washington.
Former CBC national reporter Paddy Gregg said Champ’s no-nonsense approach to news grew from his Manitoba roots.
"Henry Champ was the quintessential western boy," he said.
"He reflected that in his straightforward attitude."
Champ is survived by his wife and five children, the CBC said.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from The Canadian Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 24, 2012