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College of Communication celebrates at Communication Week kick-off

ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2005) -- The College of Communication began its 37th annual Communication Week April 24 with a desert reception and awards. The reception included awards for employees of the year, a recognition of the winners of the Farfel Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and Communication Hall of Fame inductions.

For a complete list of events throughout Communication Week, please visit the Communication Week Web page at www.commcoll.ohiou.edu/aboutus/schedule.html.  

Greg Shepherd, interim dean of the College of Communication, welcomed guests and helped to celebrate all the college has accomplished throughout the past year. "Nowhere in the world can you find such talent," he said. "Tonight is to remind everyone what we have here, and to enjoy it."

Photo by Neil OsborneThe College of Communication is more than the sum its parts, Shepherd said, noting that with all with schools and units combined, the college is "even greater." Audience members were treated to a short video highlighting major projects occurring this academic year, including faculty research, the creation of the GRID Lab, visiting professionals in the field and interactive classroom experiences.

The first three awards given were Employee of the Year awards, chosen through a faculty and staff nomination process. Amy Danzo, a graduate student studying counseling in the College of Education who serves as the dean's office assistant, became the first student to be honored with a special Student Employee of the Year award. "I feel very honored to receive this award," Danzo said. "People can say that they have a good job, but what makes it a great job is if you adore everyone you work with, which I do. I love what I do."

The college's Employee of the Year title was awarded to two individuals after Shepherd waived a tie-breaking vote. "There was no way I could be the tie-breaker," Shepherd said, explaining that two staff members, Debbie DePeel and Doug Partusch would receive awards this year. DePeel said that a co-worker had told her she "needed to come" to the event, but she still was not expecting to win anything. "I was pretty surprised because...there were a lot of deserving people in the college," she explained.

Partusch expressed his appreciation for being recognized by the college. "I need to share this award with the rest of the folks at the Telecommunications Center," he said. "It's a nice achievement for all of us. At WOUB, we understand the need to train students, as well as provide the community with public programming."

The College of Communication employee recognition program was established to honor outstanding employees who set standards for excellence and innovation. These employees contribute to the college by promoting unity, community, continuity and visibility through outstanding individual achievement, contribution, innovation and job performance. Through their efforts, others' achievements are inspired and supported. Each of this year's winners will receive $500.

The college also awarded the 2005 L.J. Horton Faculty Mentor Award Sunday evening. Larry Patrick, Ph.D. '75, a member of the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame established by the college, introduced this year's recipient, Honors Tutorial College Dean Emeritus Joseph Berman, MA '66, Ph.D. '68. Patrick began by telling the audience the story of his own undergraduate experience. "I didn't have a major...and (Berman) talked to me for three hours on a Friday afternoon about broadcasting." Days later, Berman helped Patrick declare a major in broadcasting, he said.

"What professors teach outside of the classroom is just as important as what they teach inside the classroom," Patrick explained.

Berman not only served as a mentor to many students, but also as an innovator in the college. At various times in his career at Ohio University, he served as founding director of the J. Warren McClure School of Communication Systems Management, as catalyst for the Honors Tutorial College telecommunications program in 1976 and as director of engineering, operations and production for the Telecommunications Center. In 2002, Berman retired as dean of the Honors Tutorial College. "He truly is a renaissance man," Patrick said.

"It's a real pleasure and disbelief… one of those hard to describe things," Berman said, of learning he received the award. "The first thing that goes through your mind is 'this is incredible.' The second thing that goes through your mind is 'other people should be up there getting it.'"

The L.J. Hortin Faculty Mentor Award was created and supported by Tom Kuby, BSJ '55. It is presented annually to a current or former College of Communication faculty member who exemplifies commitment to the personal and professional development of students.

Past winners of the L.J. Hortin Faculty Mentor Award include Guido H. Stempel III, distinguished professor of journalism and director of the Scripps Survey Research Center (2004) Dru Riley Evarts, BSJ '51, MSJ '74, Ph.D. '77, longtime professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism (2003); Joe Richie, assistant professor in the School of Telecommunications (2002); and David Descutner, now dean of University College and associate provost for undergraduate studies (2001).

"The bottom line for all of us here is, if you don't want to help the students, get out of the kitchen," Berman said as he accepted the award. Moments later, Patrick announced a $250,000 endowed professorship in Berman's name. "(The L.J. Hortin award) is great, but it's not enough for you," Patrick said. "Now you will live forever in history.

Next on the evening's agenda was a recognition of the Los Angeles Times staff members who received the Farfel Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting -- a $25,000 award recognizing the finest investigative reporting by print media in the United States. The award was established by a $500,000 endowment given by Ursula Farfel, '56 and Dr. Gilbert Farfel during Ohio University's Bicentennial Campaign.

The audience was able to watch a video of the team (Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein, Mitchell Landsberg and Steve Hymon, BSC '88) accepting the award during the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Awards at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 15, for its five-part series investigating the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Ohio University President Roderick McDavis presented the Prize.

The team spent a year investigating the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center after continuing problems there. They discovered the medical center was even worse than feared. Their investigation revealed not just a series of isolated tragedies -- patients dying and injured by neglect and misdiagnosis -- but a pattern of bad medicine endemic to the hospital. And, contrary to public opinion, it was not under-funded.

As a result of the Times' reporting, elected officials have finally initiated a restructuring of the hospital's operations with an outside team. Both state and federal regulators are now demanding that safety procedures be enforced.

In addition to receiving a cash award, the prize-winning team from the Times will serve as visiting professionals in Ohio University's College of Communication next school year.

Later in the evening, Susan Patrick, vice president of Patrick Communications Corporation, and communications scholar Everett Rogers, were inducted into the College of Communication Hall of Fame. Initiated in 1993, the Hall of Fame celebrates lifetime achievement of communication professionals.

Susan Patrick was "thrilled" to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, she said. "The programs here have such a strong reputation....I've worked closely with so many people [from Ohio University]." Patrick Communications Corporation owns several radio stations in Ohio, including one in Gallipolis. The corporation is a full-service broadcast investment banking and management consulting firm.

Patrick is the co-author of "The Broadcaster's Guide to SBA Loans." She has appraised radio and television stations throughout the U.S. and has brokered the sale of numerous broadcast properties.

In 2003 and 2004 she was named one of Radio Ink Magazine's Top 50 Women in Radio. "She is one of the most highly regarded radio brokers in the business," Shepherd said. "She serves as a role model for women in the industry."

"I appreciate this award because I believe it's important for young women to see that they can succeed in a male-dominated field," Susan Patrick said.

Rogers, a distinguished scholar who was best known for his "Diffusion of Innovations" theory, wrote more than 30 books and 400 articles during his career, and his scholarly research spanned more than 47 years. Communication Studies Professor and Presidential Research Scholar Arvind Singhal co-authored five books with Rogers. Singhal, who was a Ph.D. advisee of Rogers, spoke warmly of his mentor, recalling that Rogers "always said that, all his life, he has tried to plant little acorns and watch them grow...he nurtured students."

Corinne Shefner-Rogers accepted the Communication Hall of Fame award on behalf of her late husband. "He had a special connection with Ohio University," Shefner-Rogers explained. "I think he would have been very happy...If he were here, he would be smiling."

An Everett Rogers Scholar Award has also been established this year. It will be awarded on Friday, April 29, to "a second-year doctoral student who shows an interest in communication and social change," Singhal said

Other members of the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame include:

  • Sandra Anderson, BSC '7 Partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease
  • M. Jean Berns, Ph.D. '86 Owner, MJ Solutions
  • Richard Carelli, BSJ '68 Supreme Court reporter, Associated Press
  • Jeff Chaddock, BSC '88 Financial consultant, IDS Financial Services
  • Ritter Collett, BSJ '42 Sports editor emeritus, Dayton Daily News
  • Sid Davis, BSJ '52 Former vice president, NBC News
  • Charles Glover, BSJ '49, LLD '85 Former editor-in-chief, Cox Newspapers
  • Melvin Harris, Ph.D. '71 Retired president & COO, Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Rolland Johnson, Ph.D. '71 CEO, Three Eagles Productions, Inc.
  • John Kaplan, BSJ '82 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer
  • Lynne Oliver Houle, BSC '86 attorney, Brobeck Hale & Dorr International
  • Larry Patrick, Ph.D. '75 president, Patrick Communications
  • Tom Porter, MSJ '80 vice president, Freedom Communication
  • Van Gordon Sauter, BSJ '57, LHD '83 former president, CBS News and Fox News
    Scripps Howard Foundation 2004 Joan Herrold Wood Lifetime Commitment Award Winner
  • Joan Herrold Wood, BSJ '52 Retired PR professional, outstanding Ohio alumna

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Media Contact: College of Communication External Relations Coordinator Erin Roberts, (740) 593-0030, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu 

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