There was laughter and tears, but mostly a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to come together for an in-person Grady Salutes celebration April 29, 2022.
The event attracted nearly 125 Grady College alumni and friends to the Athens Cotton Press for the annual recognition of Alumni Award recipients and Fellowship inductees.
Alumni Award recipients included:
- Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, who received the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award.
- Julie Wolfe (ABJ ’03), a news director for King 5 Media Group in Seattle, who received the Mid-Career Award.
- Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA ’96, PhD ’99), professor of public relations at Grady College, was named the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
- Pat Curtin (MA ’91, PhD ’96), professor and endowed chair of public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, received the Distinguished Alumni Scholar award.
Wolfe was not able to attend the ceremony, but sent a video greeting noting her appreciation for the award and reflecting on lessons that David Hazinski, emeritus professor, taught her.
“Journalism is a relentless pursuit of facts, a commitment to always do the next right thing and an unwavering belief in the ethical principles of journalism,” Wolfe said in her video acceptance.
Fellowship inductees included:
- Susan Goodenow (ABJ ’90), executive vice president, marketing & communications for the Chicago Bulls
- Reggie Hicks (ABJ ’80), president and executive producer of Straight Street Media, Inc.
- Bob Houghton, president, Georgia Association of Broadcasters
- Alan Massengale (MA ’80), retired sports broadcaster
As the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Acosta-Alzuru was also inducted into the Grady Fellowship.
During the Fellowship acceptances, Goodenow reflected on how sports is more than a final score and talked about an experience a few weeks where the Chicago Bulls was able to offer Justin Hardy, a 22-year-old basketball player with cancer, an opportunity to attend a playoff game. Hardy claimed the day was one of the best of his life, and Goodenow reflected on how moments like that reminds her and all involved with sports what a privileged spot they hold.
“I want to thank Georgia and I want to thank Grady for putting me on a path that allowed me to have amazing experiences and meet incredible people, like Justin and his family,” Goodenow said.
Perhaps the most moving acceptance of the night was by Stevie Joe Massengale, Alan’s teenage daughter who was accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth. Alan died of cancer on March 12, after learning he would be inducted into the Fellowship, and his daughter commented about how excited he was about the honor.
“He inspired many and of course, he inspired me,” she said. “Your legacy lives on because you are larger than life.”
The Rollin “Pete” McCommons Award for Distinguished Community Journalism was presented to Larry Hobbs, a reporter for The Brunswick News. The award, recognizing work in 2020, was presented to Hobbs for his dedicated reporting about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, starting the day after his murder, and continuing throughout the trial.
“Truth more often thrives in communities where newspapers abide,” Hobbs said as he accepted the award. “Those in positions of public trust are held accountable when newspapers simply do their jobs. When an ugly truth hid behind the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, The Brunswick News did its job. We covered this sad story relentlessly from the day it occurred right up until justice was served in both state and federal courts. We owed that to our community, and to Ahmaud and to his family.”
Nominations for next year’s class of Alumni Awards recipients are now accepted and can be submitted on the Alumni Awards nomination form.
See our Grady Salutes 2022 Flickr album for more pictures.