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Spring Celebration 2008

Scholarship winners were all smiles after being acknowledged on the Memorial Hall stage at McNamara Alumni Center.

By Jen Keavy

Scholarship winners at the Spring CelebrationDespite the rain and wind, spirits weren't dampened at this year's Spring Celebration, held on May 6, 2008, at the McNamara Alumni Center.

The event, which draws nearly 300 people each year, brings together students, faculty, donors, alumni and their guests to honor scholarship recipients and the generous donors who make their scholarships possible. Graduating seniors and this year's SJMC Alumni Society Award for Excellence recipient, Regina McCombs, also were recognized.

Prior to the program's start, guests enjoyed the exhibits of work by SJMC students in associate professor Dona Schwartz's Documentary Photography class and adjunct instructor Mike Zerby's Electronic Photojournalism class. Jazz musicians from the University of Minnesota School of Music provided entertainment for the evening's event.

Ashley Wong and Chuck Porter

Ashley Wong, left, winner of the Porter Prize, thanks benefactor Chuck Porter for his generosity.

Students received keepsake certificates as they walked across the stage to be acknowledged for their scholarship awards. More than 100 scholarships worth approximately $500,000 were awarded to undergraduate and graduate students for the 2008-09 academic year. These scholarship funds are exclusive to the SJMC; many top students also receive College of Liberal Arts or University scholarships in addition to the SJMC awards.

Several SJMC students were recognized for external accomplishments, including four Northwest Broadcast News Association Sevareid Award winners, 17 Society of Professional Journalists Award recipients, three College Emmy nominations, an American Advertising Federation "Most Promising Student" Award finalist and two recipients of Scripps Howard Foundation honors--one, a Top Ten Scholarship winner and the other a Collegiate Reporting Prize recipient. Three students received honors in the advertising and public relations category--two were finalists for the One Show College Competition and one was selected for the Cannes International Advertising Festival.

SJMC Alumni Society Board president Mary Lahammer (B.A. '95) presented the 2007 SJMC Alumni Society Award for Excellence to Regina McCombs (M.A. '03). In her acceptance speech, McCombs, who was honored by the Alumni Society for her pioneering work in multimedia and new media, emphasized the need for today's journalists and communicators to be well-rounded, tech savvy, curious individuals. In the summer, McCombs, an Emmy Award-winning producer, left her position as a senior multimedia producer at the Star Tribune and accepted a faculty position at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she is responsible for building its virtual teaching programs as well as strengthening its multimedia instruction.

Katherine Hannon, Mark and Mary Lou Bartikowski

Katherine Hannon, right, was awarded the Thomas Bartikowski Memorial Scholarship, and benefactors Mark and Mary Lou Bartikowski were there to congratulate her.

Before the program, more than a dozen students were inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism and mass communication honor society. Kappa Tau Alpha adviser professor T. K. Chang acknowledged the new members during the program. In addition, the Ralph D. Casey Dissertation Research Award and the Silha Fellowship for Media Ethics and Law were presented.

The event concluded with an acknowledgment of this year's graduating class and a drawing for a travel voucher awarded to one of the students in attendance.

Carly Volzer with Todd Fisher

Hubbard Radio Scholarship recipient Carly Volzer shares a moment with Todd Fisher of KSTP-AM.

Helen Silha, Michael Schoepf, and Patrick File

Helen Silha, center, congratulates Michael Schoepf, left, and Patrick File, right, the 2008 Silha Center Fellows. Silha's endowment provides funding for the Otto and Helen Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and its fellowships.

Lauren White, Katia Rush-Hall, and Elizabeth Shippee

David Shippee Memorial Scholarship winners Lauren White, left, and Katia Rush-Hall, right, are all smiles as they pose with Elizabeth Shippee.