Grady Salutes celebrates alumni and friends

Grady Salutes celebrates alumni and friends

May 28, 2019

Nearly 200 alumni, faculty, students and friends celebrated Grady College and its 2019 honorees on April 26 at the Athens Cotton Press during the annual Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Leadership and Commitment.

Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08) emceed the evening along with Dean Charles Davis, and the event was produced by Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88) and Atlanta Image Arts.

Alumni award honorees included:

    • Chris Holcomb (ABJ ’85) received John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, and as the Lifetime Achievement recipient, Holcomb was also inducted into the Grady Fellowship. Holcomb talked his journey that has led him to his role as chief meteorologist at WXIA-TV and the sacrifices his parents made so that he could attend the University of Georgia. “They would be so proud to know that the same school that they saved to pay tuition is now honoring their boy.”
    • Henry “Hadjii” Hand (ABJ ’98) is the recipient of this year’s Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award. The screenwriter and producer, who also teaches in Grady’s MFA screenwriting program, spoke about his relationships with those who helped him get to where he is today, including his mentor, Nate Kohn, who directs the MFA program. “You don’t get to these moments in life by yourself,” Hand said. “It really takes a village.”
    • Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10) received the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. Alfano, who is director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer, has been in sports marketing and communications throughout her young career, including her introductory role with Georgia Athletics while she was still a student. “Like any good football loving Bulldog, while at UGA I learned the importance of fourth and goal on the field, but it was my “professional coaches” – my Grady teachers and mentors – who taught me about fourth and goal in life…taught me how it takes dedication, heart and a commitment to excellence to become a champion off the field.”
    • James “Ford” Risley (MA ’92) accepted the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. Risley is professor of communications and associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University, but earned his master’s degree at Grady College and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida at the same time that Dean Charles Davis earned doctorate degree from Florida. “I’m so grateful I pursued my master’s here,” Risley said. “I learned the importance of teaching and scholarship.”

    The Sanford Circle induction, a posthumous honor presented to someone whose spirit remains

    Charles Hayslett accepted the Sanford Circle induction on behalf of his good friend, the late Tom Crawford. “He was also my good and great friend, maybe the best I ever had, and I was privileged to be his,” Hayslett said of Crawford.

    with Grady College was presented to Tom Crawford (ABJ ’72), founder and editor of “The Georgia Report.” The honor was accepted by his good friend, Charles Hayslett (ABJ ’73). Hayslett began his comments: “Live as long as I have and you’ll come to appreciate things that might have gotten past you in your youth.  One is to recognize greatness when it crosses your path.  Another is to value good friends. In Tom Crawford, I guess you’d have to say I had a two-fer.”

    Honorees inducted into the Grady Fellowship included:

    • Connie Ledoux Book (PhD ’93). Book, the president of Elon University, accepted her induction in absentia via a recorded message. “It was at Grady that I learned the power of asking good questions,” Book said. “Like so many of you, I credit my time at UGA and Grady faculty and staff to my career, character and leadership.”
    • Richard Griffiths, a former CNN executive and current president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, spoke of his involvement with Grady College students through his role as an Cox Institute Industry Fellow. “Having a 43-year career in journalism and having the opportunity to share my mistakes with unsuspecting journalism students is a dream come true,” Griffiths said. He ended his presentation with a tribute to journalistic freedom and three journalists who have been killed, held hostage or arrested in recent weeks: Lyra McKee, Austin Tice and Maria Ressa.
    • Dean Krugman, who is a professor emeritus of advertising from Grady College and the founder of the Cox International Center, spoke about his love for the faculty and students. “I had a beacon that served me well,” Krugman said. “I got to come to Grady every day and engage with very bright students, where learning often went both ways.”
    Connie Ledoux Book was not able to attend, but sent a recorded message of thanks for her Fellowship induction.
    • Carole Munroe (ABJ ’82), the current senior director of brand communications for portfolio, loyalty and content for Hilton Worldwide and the former director of public relations and content relations for Disney Parks, drew on the leadership and loyalty lessons of the two men who founded those companies, Conrad Hilton and Walt Disney. She also drew on lessons from her mother and from Coretta Scott King, who Munroe was fortunate to work for as an intern for during her time at Grady College. “At the end of the day,” Munroe said, “real leadership is defined by servitude to others.”
    • Brian Robinson (ABJ ’97), who runs his own political communications firm, Robinson Republic, and is the former deputy chief of staff for communications for former Gov. Nathan Deal, talked about the hard skills he learned at Grady College and the role they had in his career success. He also talked about his pride in being a Georgia game, and that he is “especially proud to be a Grady Dawg.”

    The evening concluded with a dessert reception and the conclusion of the Grady Salutes auction, which brought in $20,000 for the general fund for Grady.



    Additional Grady Salutes assets:

    • View the Grady Salutes Flickr album to see pictures from the event
    • To view pre-event interviews with our honorees, please view the following Facebook links:

    Charles Davis; Chris Holcomb; Hadjii Hand; Angela Alfano; Richard Griffiths; Dean Krugman; Carole Munroe; Brian Robinson

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