Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Joe Armstrong

Plano, TX


Joe was born in Fort Worth, raised in Abilene, earned a B.A. in journalism at Trinity University (Phi Beta Kappa) and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

He was a publishing and media executive for four decades in Manhattan and was the publisher of ten magazines, including New York, Rolling Stone, New West, and SAVEUR (winning the National Magazine Award at each), as well as Worth, Civilization (the magazine of the Library of Congress) and the Harvard Lampoon; he has also been an advisor to the top editor and publisher at TIME, Random House, Doubleday, American Express Publishing, Hearst, Gannett newspapers, USA TODAY, HBO Documentaries, and to John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his political magazine, George.

In 2001 he became a full-time advisor to the President of ABC NEWS and worked for 3 years with anchor Peter Jennings (including the round-the-clock coverage of 9/11) and then years with Diane Sawyer.

He is a full-time volunteer for these projects: Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children with life-threatening illnesses (15 years), the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders since it began (12 years), building houses in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity, working with parents who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT for mental health support programs, and he has made numerous trips to Cuba to build a chapel and take supplies to orphanages.

For the last 10 years he has been on the Advisory Council of the Harry Ransom Center and on the boards of the Briscoe Center for American History and the University of Texas Press. He is actively involved with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights working directly with Ethel Kennedy and president Kerry Kennedy, and he is a member of the Leadership Council. For the past 9 years he has spent 2 months each year working at The Garden Tomb a Christian mission in Jerusalem as well as at Jordan River Village Camp near the Sea of Galilee for Christian, Jewish and Muslim children with life-threatening illnesses. He is a member of the Board and an active American fundraiser.

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