Tuscaloosa, Ala.— Camille Maxwell Elebash, one of Tuscaloosa’s and The University of Alabama’s most decorated and celebrated journalists and professors, died on Thursday, June 22, 2023. She was 98 years old.
Elebash was born in Tuscaloosa on March 31, 1925. She graduated from Tuscaloosa High School in 1942, received her bachelor of arts in journalism from The University of Alabama in 1946 and earned a master’s in journalism in 1958. As a college student during WWII, she wrote for The Crimson White.
During her 44-year professional career, she held a variety of journalism jobs. In 1946, she wrote for The Tuscaloosa News as a reporter, feature writer and women’s page editor. In 1948, she began writing for The New York Times, where she remained until 1951. She then returned to Tuscaloosa to edit The University of Alabama Alumni Magazine. In 1957, she and her husband Karl founded The Graphic, a local weekly newspaper which ran until 1977.
In 1975, she began working full-time at The University of Alabama as a professor in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations, where she proved instrumental during the department’s first year. During her tenure, she directed internships and masters’ theses, taught advertising in the Capstone Summer Honors Program and created a political communications course. She also developed an advertising sales course which gave students hands-on experience selling ads for The Crimson White.
Elebash retired from the University in 1990 but continued to stay active in the community. She led several organizations, including the Heritage Week of the Preservation Society, United Way, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Salvation Army, Girl Scouts, American Red Cross, Mental Health Association, and the Jemison-Van de Graff mansion. She also served on the Bryce Hospital Historical Preservation Committee, which was instrumental in preserving the hospital during sales negotiations with The University of Alabama.
Throughout her life, Elebash received numerous honors and awards, including The University of Alabama National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching; a silver medal from the American Advertising Federation; the Austin Kiplinger fellowship; a fellowship by Leo Burnett Advertising Agency; The Betsy Plank Outstanding Achievement award; and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Alumni Association. In 2015, Elebash was inducted into The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences’ Hall of Fame.
A visitation will be held at noon on June 26 in Randall Hall at Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa, followed by a memorial service at 1 P.M.