Grady Salutes 2022 honorees celebrated at in-person event

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:

Video screen picture of Julie Wolfe
Julie Wolfe accepted her Mid-Career Alumni Award via a pre-recorded taped message. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)
  • 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.

Stevie Joe Massengale
Stevie Joe Massengale accepts the Fellowship honor on behalf of her father, Alan Massengale, as Alan’s wife, Elizabeth, looks on. Alan died March 12, 2022. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

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.

  • Larry Hobbs of The Brunswick News accepted the McCommons Award for Distinguished Community Journalism. (Photo: Sydney Fordice)

See our Grady Salutes 2022 Flickr album for more pictures.

Alumni Award Profile: Carolina Acosta-Alzuru

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA’ 96, PhD’ 99) is this year’s recipient of the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring a graduate for sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career.

Acosta-Alzuru is professor of public relations at Grady College. She teaches courses in public relations campaigns and cultural studies, specifically focusing on links between the media, culture and society. She has also published multiple articles and books on telenovelas – a subject she has been studying for over 20 years. 

She has won several awards for her teaching and research, including the 2015 AEJMC-Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year for the United States and University of Georgia’s Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professorship. Her career has also taken her abroad to the United Kingdom, Chile and most recently Turkey, where she has conducted research on the tensions between the domestic and global markets for Turkish dramas.

Following is a brief interview with Acosta-Alzuru:

Grady College: What lessons learned from your time as a Grady College student have most helped you succeed in your professional life?

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru: Everything I needed to learn to become a professor and scholar I learned in our College, where I received both my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. I learned how to turn my intellectual curiosity into rigorous research because I was taught by great researchers. I learned how to be a better teacher because I had fulfilling classroom experiences that challenged and nurtured me. I learned that mentoring is part and parcel of being an educator because I was superbly mentored. Most importantly, I learned in our College that having faith in the person you are teaching and mentoring is essential for their professional and personal development. I learned this because so many of my professors and fellow graduate students surprised me by believing, when I had no clue of this possibility, that I could become a good scholar and a good teacher. I am particularly appreciative of the lessons learned from my major professor and advisor, Dr. Elli Lester Roushanzamir, and from Dr. Pat Curtin, who was then a doctoral student. Their wisdom has guided me throughout my career, and I am extremely happy that Pat is also honored this year with the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

Acosta-Alzuru with Dr. Elli Lester Roushanzamir hooding her as a new Ph.D in 1999. (Photo: courtesy of Carolina Acosta-Alzuru)
GC: What is it about your field that appeals the most to you? Why did you decide to enter that field?

CA: Understanding and unraveling the links between media, culture and society is what I do and what appeals the most to me.  I do this by studying some of the most consumed and, at the same time, most deprecated television genres: Latin American telenovelas and Turkish dramas. My preoccupation with the connections between media, culture and society is consonant with the way I see public relations, a field that has been traditionally viewed from an organizational perspective, but whose relationship with society is mutually transformative. I’m a believer in the many possibilities that public relations has of effecting positive societal change and I bring that belief into my classroom every day. 

GC: What does this recognition mean to you?

CA: The fact that weeks after the announcement of this award I’m still processing the news says how big and unexpected this recognition is for me. I remember watching with admiration John Holliman’s reporting from Bagdad in 1991, I was still in Venezuela then. I was a Ph.D. student in 1998 when the College was saddened and stunned with the news of his death. A year later he received, posthumously, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Soon after that I graduated and began my faculty life here.  These moments have been playing on my mind as I process the deep feelings of gratitude and surprise that this recognition elicits in me. 

Acosta-Alzuru (right) with fellow Grady Ph.D Usha Raman (left) in Hyderabad, India at the IAMCR conference in 2014.
GC: What motivates you?

CA: I love learning, and both teaching and research go hand in hand with learning. The fact that I love my work so much is one of my biggest treasures and the best motivator, of course. I enter the classroom every day in a good mood, ready for the experience of being both teacher and learner with my students. As for my research, I approach it every day with the same fascination it produced on me on day one, more than two decades ago. 

GC: Is there anything else you would like to share?

CA: I’m always looking at what’s ahead: my next class, my next research study, the next conference, and the next time I enter the Journalism building, a place where I’ve always been happy. This recognition, however, has made me stop and look back at the many wonderful people that have walked with me throughout the years: my professors, my students, my colleagues and the staff. All of them have embraced me, all of them have been my teachers, all of them have made this Lifetime Achievement Award possible. 

This is one in a series of profiles about our 2022 Alumni Award honorees and Fellowship inductees. 
All our honorees and inductees will be honored at Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 29, 2022 at Athens Cotton Press. Please visit our Grady Salutes registration webpage for more details. 


Grady College announces 2022 Alumni Award recipients

Grady College is proud to announce honorees for its annual alumni awards, recognizing alumni who have established a tradition of service and achievement in their careers.

Alumni Award recipients will be recognized at the College’s annual recognition event, Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on Friday, April 29, 2022. Inductees into the Grady Fellowship also will be recognized at Grady Salutes.

The 2022 Alumni Award recipients include:

  • Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, will receive the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. Carpenter previously worked at CNN and The Washington Post, and her byline has appeared in Glamour, Vogue, New York magazine and other publications. The Young Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career.
  • Julie Wolfe (ABJ ’03), a news director for King 5 Media Group in Seattle, receives the Mid-Career Award. Stations where Wolfe has previously worked include WGRZ in Buffalo, New York; WXIA in Atlanta; and WHAS in Louisville, where she led the news team through award-winning coverage of the Breonna Taylor case and launched its Emmy-winning investigative unit, FOCUS. The Mid-Career Award is presented to a graduate for his or her professional achievements, influence and success.
  • Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA ’96, PhD ’99), professor of public relations at Grady College, is named the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award winner for sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career. Acosta-Alzuru teaches courses in public relations campaigns and cultural studies, among others. She is an internationally recognized scholar on telenovelas and has written several books on the subject. Grady College has recognized its Lifetime Achievement recipient for more than 45 years.
  • Pat Curtin (MA ’91, PhD ’96), professor and endowed chair of public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, receives the Distinguished Alumni Scholar award. Curtin has previously taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research encompasses cross-cultural public relations, public relations history and the development of critical/postmodern approaches to public relations theory. The Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award honors a graduate for excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education.

More information about the alumni awards and a list of past recipients can be viewed on the Alumni Awards webpage.

Register here for the for the Grady Salutes celebration on April 29, 2022. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.