Distinguished Alumni Award - Susan Q. Stranahan '68

June 1996

Susan Stranahan graduated from Wooster in 1968 and went directly to a reporting job with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A history major whose Independent Study examined newspapers published in Montana's gold-mining camps in the 1800s, Ms. Stranahan spent four years as a reporter with the Plain Dealer, covering a variety of topics.


In 1972, she left Cleveland to join the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer as a reporter. She was a member of a special I71quirer reporting team that covered the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. Her articles were a major part of the coverage which won the Pulitzer Prize for general reporting in 1980.


Ms. Stranahan moved from the newsroom to the editorial page of The Inquirer as an editorial writer in 1980. She was one of five journalists from throughout the country to win a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation in 1983. The fellowship entails a year of travel, study, and writing on a topic of current public interest. She took a year's leave of absence from The Inquirer to study the problems that victims of toxic-substance contamination have in obtaining compensation for their injuries.


In addition to sharing in the Pulitzer and winning the Patterson Foundation Fellowship, Ms. Stranahan has won a number of statewide and national journalism awards.

Throughout her career at The Inquirer, Stranahan has written articles dealing with environmental issues in the nation and the region. In 1985 she was named Pennsylvania Conservation Communicator by the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation.


Many of her stories touched on events that occurred along the Susquehanna River, and she developed an abiding interest in the river: "Each time I returned to the river," she wrote, "I vowed to learn more, to explore. But like so many resolutions, this one went unfulfilled."


Then, in the late 1980s, she was offered the opportunity to write a book. The result was Susquehanna, River of Dreams, published in 1993 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. Currently, Ms. Stranahan is a reporter with the state desk of The Inquirer and is planning her second book.


She was elected to two terms as an Alumni Trustee of the College and has been active in numerous ways on behalf of her alma mater. She has been a member of the Greater Philadelphia Wooster Committee and was a lecturer for the Summer of 1995 Alumni College.


Ms. Stranahan's parents, John Stranahan and Carol Scott Stranahan, are members of Wooster's Class of 1943.