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: Patricia Curtin

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. 

Patricia A. Curtin (MA ’92, PhD ’96) is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award, honoring a graduate for excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education.

Curtin is a professor and endowed chair at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. After receiving her Ph.D. at Grady in 1996, she took a tenure-track position at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she received early promotion and tenure to associate professor and directed both the master’s and the doctoral programs. She then received an endowed chair and early promotion to professor at the University of Oregon.

Her research encompasses cross-cultural public relations, public relations history, and development of critical/postmodern approaches to public relations theory. She has won top research awards at international conferences and is the author of two books and numerous peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles.

Following is a brief interview with Curtin:

Grady College: What does receiving the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award mean to you?

Pat Cutin: The short answer is a lot. The long answer is that I came to Grady’s graduate program in my late 30s as a working mother of two. You don’t put yourself in the position of working full-time as a master’s student, raising tweens, and doing a graduate program unless you’re pretty motivated. My motivation was to get the best education I could so that I could demonstrate how the stories we tell, and how we tell them, make a difference. My research agenda has never been trendy, but instead has been driven by trying to give voice to disenfranchised groups and create shared understandings that allow us to develop better relations among diverse peoples. Part of telling those stories is to put them in the larger socio-political-economic context of the times. Grady gave me the broad knowledge base and tools to be able to do that. To have Grady recognize the work that I’ve done over the years to ensure we hear those voices in context is validation not only of what I’ve tried to accomplish but of the broad diversity/equity/inclusion perspective that Grady values, as well. My current work is centered on how the U.S. public relations profession developed in relation with organized labor. Grady’s recognition of my work is an immense honor at this point in my career.

Pat Curtin (second from right) with other Grady College Ph.D. students Usha Raman (MA ’83, PhD ’96), Melinda Robbins, Pat Curtin and Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA ’96, PhD ’99) at a IAMCR conference in Dublin, Ireland, in 2013. (Photo: courtesy of Carolina Acosta-Alzuru)
GC: Why is a cross-cultural perspective important?

PC: The research study I’m proudest of to date is one I completed while a Grady doctoral student in Dr. Wally Eberhard’s Media and War class. It told the story of the Japanese-American troops in World War II—how the media portrayed them in order to promote U.S. government objectives and how the media-savvy 442nd Regimental Combat Team used the media to advance its goals of recognition and acceptance. After the piece was published, I was contacted by a Japanese-American soldier who had served in the war who told me I “nailed” the story. In 2005, 10 years after that study was published, I sailed as an instructor on Semester at Sea, the experiential-learning study abroad ship that takes students to 10 different countries to experience comparative cultural insights. The cross-cultural term embraces a variety of levels, including not just international boundaries but also those of cultures within the United States, which are important to recognize and embrace. I think any good communicator needs to authentically connect with an audience—the ability to empathize, to see others’ perspectives, to realize the commonalities that unite us as well as the rich diversities that complement us and fully realize our humanity and potential.

GC: What are your favorite memories of your time at Grady College?
From L-R: Dale Harrison, James Rada (PhD ’97), Margie Morrison (PhD ’96), Elfriede Fursich (MA ’94, PhD ’98), Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and Pat Curtin. (Photo: courtesy of James Rada)

PC: When I think back to my time at Grady, it’s the people who stand out. Grady attracts top scholars from around the world, and the opportunity to learn from them is immense and priceless. My professors, across the board, exposed me to a rich variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, and my own research is so much better and stronger for that. Grady professors didn’t give us a hammer and tell us the world was a nail. We were given a toolbox and the knowledge from which to choose the appropriate tool for the job. Additionally, Grady attracts an amazing cohort of graduate students to its competitive program. I also fondly think of the staff, who supported even lowly graduate students and made us feel part of the larger Grady family. My fellow students pushed me, supported me, and remain my close friends after all these years. I am honored beyond words to be sharing the awards ceremony this year with one of those people, Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, who is receiving the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.

GC: What advice do you have for someone considering getting a Ph.D.?

PC: Pick a program not for the one professor you want to study with simply because they study just the precise area you think you want to. Instead, be open to having your intellectual horizons widened to include areas you never considered before. Pick a program for its breadth and its rigor. Pick a program for the foundation it will give you to explore new areas of interest and for its ability to push you to become the best scholar you can be. Grady made me question many of my long-held beliefs, expand my conceptual and methodological breadth, and learn how to never back down from the hard questions.

Editor’s Note: the above has been edited for length and clarity. 


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.