Today marks the 49th anniversary of the passing of George F. Batka, the one-time director of the University of Maryland’s radio and television program in the Department of Speech. Dr. Batka also had the distinction of being the “Voice of the Terrapins” as the public address announcer when Byrd Stadium opened in 1950, as well as at commencement each year. His voice was instantly recognizable for countless Terrapin students and fans, and when he passed away suddenly from a heart attack at age 50, his loss was keenly felt.
Dr. Batka came to campus in 1948, and in addition to running the radio and television department, served as faculty adviser to the campus radio station, WMUC. In 1959 he was named Outstanding Faculty Member by the Men’s League, a campus student organization, and in 1961, the Air Force ROTC chapter on campus made him an honorary colonel. He presided over the debut of closed-circuit television on campus in 1958 and produced numerous radio and television programs for Baltimore and Washington stations.
So, the next time you’re at a game, and you hear the public address announcer, remember Dr. Batka and his contributions to the university, as well as to technology that is now completely ingrained into American life.