Mesa College, 1949-51
A third-generation Grand Junction native, Orr's journalism studies at Mesa College served him well in a career that spanned over five decades, from 1948 until his death in 2004. From his first job as a 17-year-old DJ at KEXO until the final broadcast of his long running "Reporter's Notebook" on KNZZ at age 73, Orr constantly strove to "give the listeners more." His professional life took him on a lifelong search for knowledge as he worked in radio, television and newspaper in Colorado, Wyoming, and Alaska. The list of dignitaries he interviewed includes the legendary Duke Ellington and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.
Serving on the Grand Junction City Council in the late 1950's, Orr was elected as the City's youngest mayor at the age of 23. He was active in the Masonic Lodge, VFW, Rotary, Salvation Army, and many other community organizations. As a much sought-after public speaker for groups all over Colorado West, Orr claimed he was "not a historian, just a reporter who missed a few deadlines." His legions of fans would disagree. Bill was indeed a wonderful historian. His program on KKGM in the 1990's generated an unprecedented amount of fan mail, as did his "Reporter's Notebook." Orr truly loved Colorado, Grand Junction, and especially Mesa State College.Bill Orr 2005