The Story of Ed

All about Ed. You shoulda known him!

Peggy Lee's famous song of 1969 "Is that all there is?" was constantly in Ed Bannister's thoughts. The lyrics are written from the point of view of a person who is disillusioned with events in life that are supposed unique experiences. Ed spent a life time proving there is more and he was out to make it happen.

After a successful career in the Advertising Agency industry, Ed decided to become a professor. That required he attain a Masters degree from UCLA where he attended as one of the oldest students. Newly minted middle aged professors were not in demand but though a persist employment campaign Ed took on the job as Advertising professor at Washington State University, in what is now named the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications

Ed and the college were never the same again.

In a few short years he built a department of students hungry for a real life view of business, advertising and success. His classes were known for student participation which was absolutely required from every student. Extroverts loved the opportunity to present, explain and defend their positions. Shy students were forced to jump in with both feet and, for many, this was a life changing situation.

His classes won major student competitions sponsored by the American Advertising Federation. Ed was involved in many clubs and organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, Association for Education in Journalism, American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Foundation, Seattle Federal Advertising Club, and the Pullman Rotary Club.

One novel approach to his teaching was that students were expected to undertake a semester long internship at an ad agency, media outlet or other business. In short order WSU Ad students were popping up in every visible business in Washington State.

Colleagues often wondered how he was able to get so many busy executives to allow wet-behind-the-ears students to wander their hallways. To students it was no mystery. He simply did what he told them to do, "Never take no for an answer. In fact demand yesses and you'll get them."

He could be rough and forthright to a fault, or so everyone thought. He loved sports and was powerfully proud to be chosen as an official at the Olympic Games. His demeanor was more that of a sweat shirt wearing college coach than a tweed jacket wearing professor. His get-to-the-heart of the matter attitude created students who went out into the world, hungry for its benefits and ready for its assaults. Any coach would be happy to achieve that kind of legacy.

Every student remembers the Edism's used to make his points.

"If the world is sitting, then get up and dance," he said more times than can be counted. His message - you must be noticed in order to stand out from the crowd.

"If when you die you have 6 people to carry your coffin, your are 5 ahead of everyone else," he said to prove his point that loyalty was paramount in business and life.

Ed arrived at WSU in 1969 and passed away unexpectedly in November 1977. Students saw him as the wise old man. He was only 57 at the time of his death. A memorial was held on campus which hundreds attended. Industry leaders arrived uninvited. Students came from thousands of miles away.

And then it was over. In such a short period of time one may touched so many people. Made their lives better. And left a void in their hearts that never heals.

This website is dedicated to Ed of course. But it is really intended simply to replicate his message. That intellect, persistence, diligence and friendship can pay off. In ways that those who sit and watch, that those who don't get up and dance, will never understand. Too bad for them.

P.S. And to his wife Charlie, his muse and compatriot, we his students say thanks again for sharing him. Its unusual for a professor to still be teaching 40 years later, but he is.

And now you can help build the Ed Professorship:

Help Ed Find All His Friends

To get things off to a flying start Ed wants to find the current addres, phone and email of every one of his students and Friends. He needs you to register on this site, or phone, mail or email him. And then to send him the contact info for any other students you may know of.