Fighting illiteracy just seemed like a natural cause for a newspaper man. Tutt Bradford, former owner of the Daily Times, put heart, soul and money behind the cause and was honored this month by the Maryville Kiwanis Club for his work.
Rev. Anne McKee, chaplain at Maryville College, said that in 1980, Bradford read census figures showing an illiteracy rate of 20 percent. Bradford, then owner of the Daily Times, wanted to help solve the problem. “Tutt swore his first thought was, ‘If they can’t read, they won’t read my paper,’” she said as the audience laughed.
Once Bradford learned the problem could be solved with more volunteers, he and his wife set up the scholarships through Maryville College. McKee shared how Bradford developed 15 scholarships of $4,000 per year. The scholarships required students to spend six hours a week tutoring people on how to read.
“Almost all the scholarships at Maryville College have some service component,” she said. “We believe that to whom much is given, much is expected.”
Bradford said he was humbled by the honor. “Thank you so much for what you’ve done,” he said.
Bradford said afterwards he knew about a Maryville College presentation but didn’t know the Kiwanians were going to honor him. “I was very surprised by all this,” he said.