Grady College announces 2019 Alumni Award Winners

Grady College announces 2019 Alumni Award Winners

March 07, 2019

Grady College is honored to congratulate the following alumni on winning the 2019 Alumni Awards, which will be presented at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 26, 2019:

  • Chris Holcomb (ABJ ’85) will receive the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Henry “Hadjii” Hand (ABJ ’98) will receive the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award
  • Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10) will receive the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award
  • James “Ford” Risley (MA ’92) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award

Named after the late John Holliman Jr., Grady alumnus and former CNN reporter, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career. The Henry W. Grady Award honors a mid-career graduate who has been influential in his or her field. The Dean John E. Drewry Award recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career. The Distinguished Scholar Award honors an alumnus/a for excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education.

Chris Holcomb has been awarded multiple Emmys for his work as chief meteorologist at 11Alive WXIA/WATL, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, where he has worked for 27 years. During this time, he has also been honored with Gabby Awards for Best Coverage and an Associated Press Award for Best Weather Reporting. While pursuing his journalism degree at Grady College, he was selected for “The Lawmakers” internship at Georgia Public Television with the opportunity to report on the 1986 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Following graduation, Holcomb worked at WMAZ-TV in Macon. Holcomb earned his AMS Seal of Approval and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society. As the recipient of the Holliman Lifetime Achievement Award, Holcomb will also be inducted into the Grady Fellowship on April 26.

Henry “Hadjii” Hand is an acclaimed writer and producer with a voice for comedy. His first feature, “Somebodies,” premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and received a Golden Thumb Award from film critic Roger Ebert. Hand also wrote, executive produced and starred in the “Somebodies”television series for BET. Praised by the Associated Press as One of the Five New Shows to Watch, the show was also recognized by the LA Times Critic’s Choice as one of the highlights of 2008. Hand has also written and produced television pilots for Adult Swim, IFC, Fox Network and Disney XD. Currently, he works as a consulting producer on “Step Up,”a television series for Lionsgate/YouTube Premium. Hand serves as an instructor in the UGA’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Program in Narrative Media Writing.

Angela Alfano is director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer, playing an  important role in sponsorship, business ventures and digital media, among other responsibilities. Before MLS, she worked in public relations at Tough Mudder in New York City, at the National Football League headquarters and in corporate communications for the Washington Redskins. Alfano started in sports communications as a student assistant in UGA’s Sports Information Department. In addition to her public relations degree from Grady College, Alfano has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UGA and a master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University. She has been awarded the Chicago Skyline Award for “Establishing a New Identity for the NFL Draft” in 2016 by PRSA Chicago and was one of PR News’ “Rising Stars 30 and Under” in 2017.

James “Ford” Risley is a professor of communications and associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University. He is the author or editor of four books, including editor of American Journalism, the scholarly journal of the American Journalism Historians Association. Before teaching mass media history and law, he was a newspaper reporter and freelance writer. In addition to his master’s degree from Grady College, he has his bachelor of arts degree from Auburn University and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Grady Salutes, which will also recognize the inductees into the Grady Fellowship and Sanford Circle, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Athens Cotton Press, 149 Oneta Street, Athens. Tickets for the Grady Salutes event can be purchased on the Grady Salutes ticket order webpage.