Let’s make it official
Ready to become a Lynx? We are still accepting applications, but housing and class registration are first-come, first-served.
NewsJun 14, 2023

Earning peer recognition in a variety of fields

Associate Professor Donna Halper inducted into Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Group photograph of inductees in Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame
The Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame held its induction ceremony on June 8 at the Quincy, Massachusetts, Marriott Hotel. Standing, from left, Massachusetts Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jordan Walton, inductees Pat Costa, Donna Halper, Mike Lynch, and Carl Stevens. Sitting, from left, Nicole Toon, daughter of the late inductee Therman Toon, Hall of Fame Committee Chair Peter Brown, and Katherine Rossmoore, widow of the late inductee Bill Shields. (Photo courtesy ofTerrence Adderley Photography)

By John Sullivan

Many people know many things about Dr. Donna Halper, an associate professor in our College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

A legendary former rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey, she was instrumental in introducing the Canadian power trio Rush to audiences in 1974, during her tenure at a Cleveland, Ohio, radio station. That’s where Halper “dropped the needle,” as she says, on the song “Working Man.” Though many rock fans initially mistook the track for a new song by Led Zeppelin, her on-air experimentation helped propel Rush to national and worldwide acclaim. The band has acknowledged Halper’s contribution numerous times in print and invited her to Los Angeles 13 years ago, when the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Donna San Antonio stands with arm around Donna Halper
Friend and colleague Donna San Antonio, left, professor of Counseling & Psychology, congratulates Associate Professor Donna Halper on her induction into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Dr. San Antonio attended the June 8 induction ceremony on Massachusetts's South Shore. (Courtesy photo/Jon Jacobik)

Others are aware of Halper’s contributions as a broadcast historian through her numerous appearances on radio, television and podcast interviews, and via the books she has authored, including “Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting.”

Certainly, to know Halper is to know that she is an enormous baseball fan, and that her passion has appeared in myriad articles ranging from the Red Sox to the Negro Leagues, to late-19th and early-20th century chronicles of the sport when it was still known as “base ball.”

But, here at Lesley, Halper has taught history and English courses, as well as courses in Communication and Media Studies, and has long been the adviser to — and patron of — the student-run online newspaper The Lesley Public Post.

Now, Halper has taken on a new role: on June 8, she officially became an inductee of the Massachusetts Broadsters Hall of Fame. Other members of her class of inductees are longtime WCVB-TV sportscaster Mike Lynch, WBZ Radio’s heralded news reporter and “poet laureate” Carl Stevens, Spanish music radio station entrepreneur Pat Costa, and, posthumously, the late beloved Channel 7 videographer Therman Toon, and the late WBZ-TV reporter and storyteller Bill Shields.

"I was both stunned and gratified to be chosen for induction," Halper says. "I never expected it. And, no, I'm not being falsely modest. Some of the greatest broadcasters in radio and TV, people I admired when I was growing up, are in the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.”

plaque of Donna Halper
The plaque indicating Dr. Donna Halper's induction into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Halper indicates that it is a privilege to be inducted, adding, “In a way, it's also a validation, not just of my many years in radio, but my work as a media historian."  

The organization also gave Halper its Pioneer Award, a distinction, Hall of Fame Committee Chair Peter Brown said, presented to “individuals who have distinguished themselves over decades for lasting contributions made to the broadcast industry and through a leadership role in their particular craft.”

Dr. Sonia Pérez-Villanueva, chair of the Humanities Department, applauds Halper on the honor.

“Donna’s exceptional contributions to the field of Communication and Media Studies, coupled with her impact as a published author, exemplify the power of storytelling and its ability to ignite hearts and minds,” Pérez-Villanueva says. “Donna brings this passion to the classroom where, through her remarkable dedication, she has enriched many students’ lives.”

She added that Halper’s recognition “also serves as a testament to the transformative role of education, and the enduring influence of the humanities in our society.”

Donna Halper standing for phosed photo with Jordan Rich
Associate Professor Donna Halper stands with veteran broadcaster Jordan Rich. (Courtesy photo/Samantha DeSuze)

CLAS Dean Steven Shapiro cites Halper’s impact on Lesley students, as well as in her various endeavors outside the university.

“Dr. Halper is a true inspiration for our students,” Shapiro says. “She has been a trailblazer her entire life, fighting successfully for opportunities that were unavailable to women and then becoming a tremendous force in that field.  

“In addition to her hall-of-fame work in broadcasting, she is a very successful media historian and exemplary professor.  At Lesley, we are so thankful that our students have this incredible opportunity to have Dr. Halper as their instructor."