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.

2022 Fellowship Profile: Reggie Hicks

Congratulations to Reggie Hicks (ABJ ’80), a 2022 Fellowship inductee.

Hicks is president and executive producer of the non-profit Straight Street Media, Inc. where he produces documentaries, podcasts and digital stories that affect change in the lives of the underserved.  His current project, the documentary film “If You Are My Brothers,” chronicles the journey of a UGA fraternity brother who was diagnosed with an advanced stage of prostate cancer.  This documentary hit home when Hicks was also diagnosed three years into filming.

Hicks’ public broadcasting journey began on the campus of UGA at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education while he was a journalism student.  During his junior year, he served as technical director at the Atlanta PBS affiliate WGTV Channel 8.  Since that time, his career has encompassed every facet of public radio and television including roles as general manager and development/fundraising at stations throughout the southeast United States including Georgia, Alabama and Texas, among others.

Hicks created and served as executive producer for “Power Point,” the first weekly national call-in program on public radio addressing issues relevant to the Black community.  The two-hour weekly call-in program aired for seven years on national public radio in 50 markets and on Sirius Satellite Radio (now SiriusXM).

Reggie has also served as the associate development director for the UGA Annual Fund, director of membership for Georgia Public Broadcasting and adjunct professor in mass communications at Clark Atlanta University and the University of Tampa, among others.

Reggie Hicks and his wife, Anita, at the National Championship game in 2018.
Reggie Hicks and his wife, Anita, at the National Championship game in 2018.

Hicks, a native of Savannah, Georgia, is married to Anita Stokes-Hicks, and they have one son, Armondi.

Following are excerpts from an interview with Hicks:

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

Reggie Hicks: Of course, the excellent academic training I received at Grady College is first and foremost. It was there that I began to understand the importance of being a good writer. From a more practical perspective, the hands-on opportunities I experienced through Grady College’s internships and part-time opportunities helped hone skills that I have used every day of my career.

GC: What would you tell your 20-year-old self? 

RH: Spend more time learning about what’s on the horizon for the future. Read more about innovations and trends and use that information to become your own boss. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be scared to fail. I know this sounds a bit cliché but when you fail, learn from it, embrace it and move on. Live your dreams, and don’t be quick to conform to the norm.

GC: What motivates you?
Reggie Hicks wearing headphones at a sound board as he promotes his documentary, You Are My Brothers.
Hicks promoting his documentary, “You Are My Brothers.”

RH: Being the change that I want to see motivates me every day. That’s why I have worked primarily in the non-profit sector with organizations whose mission it is to make this a better place.

GC: Are there any books or podcasts that you would recommend to young professionals?

RH: Yes, there are two books I would recommend to young professionals: Ray Dialo’s “Principles” and “Leader’s Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. These books are about leadership and understanding that the greatest resource of all is the human resource.

Also, I would find something visual that motivates you, especially during challenging times. As a senior at UGA, I found an unknown author’s poem titled “If.”  I remember buying the poster in a small gift shop on Tybee Island, Georgia. I was going through some real challenges at the time, and looking at the poem helped to keep me motivated. I later found the poem on a plaque, and it hangs in my office today.

GC: What are your best strategies for keeping up with industry advancements?

RH: Read, read and read. Devote time during your week dedicated to reading about innovations in your field. Learn about trends and predictions about what’s on the horizon. Subscribe to digital sources like newsletters and podcasts. Join social media groups to connect you with individuals in your field of interest who effect change in real-time.

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 class of Fellows

Grady College proudly announces the newest class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

The 2022 Fellowship class includes:

  • 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

“This year’s class of Grady Fellows represents the full breadth and depth of the college,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “From senior leaders in business to broadcast icons and radio legends, it’s a true testament to the quality of the nominations for this, our highest recognition.”

The 2022 recipient of the John Holliman Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, which will be named later this month, will be inducted into the Fellowship as well.

In a nod to the 2021 National Football Champions, Uga X (Que) is an honorary member of the 2022 class. Que began his reign as the Georgia Bulldogs in 2015, the College’s Centennial year.

The Fellowship induction, along with the recognition of the 2022 Alumni Awards, will take place Friday, April 29 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership.

With the addition of these Fellows, the Grady Fellowship will have more than 140 Fellows who have been inducted since 2008. A full list of Fellows can be viewed on our Grady Fellowship webpage.

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