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Spring Celebration 2006

By Ami Berger

The SJMC celebrates its scholars, donors, alumni, and 2006 graduates at a festive--and crowded!--Spring Celebration at McNamara Alumni Center.

scholarship winnersOn May 2, 2006, the SJMC hosted its largest Spring Celebration ever, as 350 students, faculty, alumni, donors, and their guests converged on the McNamara Alumni Center. The annual event was held in honor of the School's 2006-07 scholarship winners and donors, the graduating class of 2006, and the SJMC Alumni Board's 2006 Award for Excellence recipient, Howard Liszt (B.A. '68).

Held in McNamara's Memorial Hall, the event featured several ways for guests to enjoy the work of SJMC students. Students in Professor Dona Schwartz's documentary photography class installed a temporary exhibit of their work for the event, and during dinner, a slideshow of photos from instructor Mike Zerby's electronic photojournalism class was projected on McNamara's big screen.

class of 2006In his welcome to the crowd, SJMC director Albert Tims noted that the SJMC was able to award well over 100 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, totalling almost $450,000 for the 2006-07 school year. Tims also announced a substantial increase in the Star Tribune Scholarship Program, one of the School's most prestigious scholarships. The Star Tribune Foundation has increased its contribution to the program by 50%, and the SJMC has matched that contribution, bringing the total value of the scholarship to $15,000 per student per year for all four years.

During the after-dinner program, the crowd gave a standing ovation to Howard Liszt as he accepted the Alumni Board's Award for Excellence. In presenting the award to Liszt, Steve Gordon (B.A. '70) and Jenny Tracy (B.A. '03) spoke about Liszt's contributions to the advertising industry as the CEO of Campbell Mithun and his commitment to advertising students as a Senior Fellow in the SJMC. More than three dozen National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) alumni attended the event in support of Liszt, who has been the group's adviser since 2000.

Other highlights of the evening included the induction of several dozen new members of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism and mass communication honor society, the presentation of certificates to the recipients of 2006-07 scholarships, and a special tribute to the members of the class of 2006 and their families from SJMC director Tims.

Howard Liszt '68 wins 2006 SJMC Alumni Award for Excellence

Howard LisztOver the past 35 years, Howard Liszt has established an exceptionally successful career in marketing and communication. Liszt began his career at the Green Giant Company, where for six years he held marketing posts working on both established and new products. In 1976 he joined Campbell Mithun, where he made substantial contributions to the agency and its clients. Liszt was promoted to general manager of Campbell Mithun in 1984, named president/chief operating officer of the agency in 1994, and appointed chief executive officer in charge of all agency operations in 1994.

During his tenure at Campbell Mithun, Liszt led the company's expansion into fully integrated marketing communications services and health care services. Under his leadership, Campbell Mithun grew to become a top 15 international firm, with annual billings exceeding $1 billion. Liszt's client list included Andersen Corp., Eli Lilly, Century 21, Kimberley Clark, General Mills, Pfizer, Toro, United Healthcare, Verizon, and other well-known national and international companies.

In 2000, Liszt was named the Silver Medal Award winner by the American Advertising Federation for his career contributions. This award is the organization's highest award for professional achievement.

After retiring from the advertising agency business in 2000, Liszt joined the University of Minnesota as a Senior Fellow in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Liszt is leading a number of initiatives involving the education of students interested in pursuing careers in strategic communication. He led the development of the SJMC's new M.A. program in strategic communication, and is the faculty adviser of the SJMC's National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team.

A Minneapolis native, Liszt is active in numerous business and community organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Microgistix, Viking Enterprises, and Zomax, where he is chairman of the Board. He has also served on the boards of Ocular Sciences, Shuffle Master, Coleman Natural Products (serving as chair), the American Association of Advertising Agencies, BuzzCompany.com, the National Easter Seals Society, the Minnesota Children's Museum, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.