Henry J. (Hank) Waters, III
Newspaper Publisher, Civic leader, Philanthropist
Year Inducted: 2016
Waters became publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune in May of 1966 and has written a daily editorial for the paper ever since, even beyond his retirement as publisher in 2010. 2016 marked the 50th year that Waters published a daily editorial, and having done so at least 355 times each year, he has penned over 18,000 editorials. A feat so rare, it’s not known to have ever been done before in modern American newspaper publishing.
Waters is the great nephew of the family’s first Tribune owner and publisher, Edwin Watson, and the son of the family’s second owner and publisher, Henry (Jack) Waters, Jr. Waters first worked as a Tribune paperboy in the early 1940s. At age 18, he began to sell ads for the Tribune while also beginning political science studies at the University of Missouri. Waters graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1951.
Under his leadership for more than 44 years, the Tribune grew into an employer of over 300 professionals and a paper that won hundreds of state and national awards. He received the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s High Honor award in 1980 and was inducted into the Missouri Press Association’s Hall of Fame in 2001.
His commitment to Columbia and Boone County has been reflected in his work with dozens of civic organizations. Those many organizations include the Reality House, the Boys and Girls Club, The Arrow Rock Lyceum Theater, the State Historical Society, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Press Association, the Stephens College Board of Trustees and several more.
Hank Waters has for 50 years coupled excellent business sense with being a journalistic superstar. He is a member of the Missouri Press Hall of Fame and has mentored hundreds of journalists now working throughout the U.S.
Through his editorials he has been willing to speak as the conscience of the community. He has done so with passion, courage and wisdom and the community is infinitely better for it.