From a Distant Campaign Trail
CAIRO — I’ve spent the past two weeks talking politics.
I do that a lot. But this was Egyptian politics. Nearly everyone
I’d met in Cairo — students, professors, guides — was
both excited and apprehensive about the outcome of what is considered
Egypt’s first democratic election.
“I’m confused,” one student said, describing
why she wanted to write about the first election in which she would
vote, but was having trouble grasping 13 presidential candidates.
I assured her that confusion is part of the process, that American
politics can be as bewildering as Egyptian and that confusion might
well be the heart of her story.
The presidential elections — a runoff will take place in
June — are
part of the process evolving since the Arab Spring of 2011 which
overthrew the Mubarak regime in Egypt and, in varying degrees,
has changed the political atmosphere in many Arab countries. Egypt
has already held open parliamentary elections.
I’ve been meeting with journalism and public relations classes
at MISR International University, a private endeavor of some 5000
students in the Cairo suburbs. The students have been very open
and engaging about the election process, the tension between Islamist
and secular parties and broader social issues facing Egypt.
In one writing class, a young woman described the threat she feels
of being harassed by Egyptian men. "What if I make a scene
of that guy that thinks it’s a right he has to give me dirty
looks, to insult me with his words?" she wrote. I asked if
this is widespread. Nearly every woman in the class quickly agreed
it is. The men were sheepishly quiet.
We should not make snap judgments about other cultures. Two weeks
only scratches the veneer. MIU hopes some of its students can study
at USC and USC students and faculty can travel to Egypt. We’ll
explore the possibilities of exchanges.
The classes in Cairo also gave me an opportunity to share a perspective
on our own presidential elections. At a larger lecture, I held
up my somewhat worn, pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution. “This
is all of it,” I said to some surprise in my audience. Including
all 27 amendments of the past 225 years, it's 35 crisp pages. Many
more recent national constitutions run to hundreds of pages.
Justice Stephen Breyer calls our constitution an “enabling
document.” It enables Americans to shape their government
and its laws with relatively little specific directions, few guidelines
on how to and few on how not to. The First Amendment accounts for
a lot of the what not to do, such as impinge on the cardinal freedoms
It’s not a perfect document. But democracy, as Winston Churchill
put it, is “the worst form of government, except for all
I wish my new Egyptian friends well in their pursuit of democracy.
It’s neither a straight nor easy path.
Claypoole Named Executive Director of Alumni Association
Jack Claypoole, advertising and public relations ’87, has
been named the executive director of the My Carolina Alumni Association.
Claypoole will assume the post in July, succeeding Marcia A. Cole,
who stepped down as executive director last June.
Currently the associate deputy director of the White House Office
of National Drug Control Policy, Claypoole was previously president
and CEO of LRADAC, The Behavioral Health Center of the Midlands.
Alumni associations are not a new venture for Claypoole. He helped
launch the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies
Alumni Society in 2005 and served as its first chairman.
In recognition of his work both with the college and in his career,
Claypoole was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the School of Journalism
and Mass Communications in 2007.
Read more >
Padgett Honored with Amy Kay Stubbs Women of Achievement Award
Beth Padgett, master’s ’92, is one of 11 women in
Greenville, SC to be honored at the ninth annual Amy Kay Stubbs
Women of Achievement Awards, which took place in April.
Padgett was honored in the journalism category. She has worked
as editorial page editor of The Greenville News since 2000. Padgett
writes editorials, is responsible for the newspaper’s opinion
page and represents the newspaper in the community.
The Amy Kay Stubbs Women of Achievement Awards are given by the
Greenville YWCA and honor Greenville’s brightest women in
11 categories, including healthcare, arts and media, business and
Burkarth Named Athletics Staff Member of the Year
Cory Burkarth, broadcast ’09, MMC ‘12, was named the
USC athletic department’s Staff Member of the Year in May.
The honor was voted on by all staff members in the athletic department.
Burkarth worked with the athletics department as a graduate assistant
for two years before being hired as multimedia coordinator in 2011.
He is responsible for making athletics videos accessible to state
television stations, creating videos for the athletics website,
and handling media relations for the USC equestrian team.
Ward Among Best and Brightest of Lowcountry Young Professionals
Alicia Ward, advertising and public relations ’96, has been
selected by the South Carolina chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
as one of the best and brightest among young professionals in the
Ward has worked as Marketing and Communications Director for Motley
Rice in Mt. Pleasant, SC since 2004. She was nominated for the
CFF award by Elizabeth Boineau of E. Boineau & Company, Ward’s
first public relations employer and mentor of more than 20 years.
The honorees will be introduced at the CFF red carpet kick-off,
where they will meet cystic fibrosis patients and volunteer at
the MUSC Care Center. One of the honorees will be named the Lowcountry’s
Finest Young Professional of the Year and will be recognized in
Forde to receive the Covert Award in Mass Communication History
Journalism professor Kathy Roberts Forde will receive the
28th annual Covert Award in Mass Communication History for the
best mass communication history article or essay published in 2011.
Her article is "Profit and Public Interest: A Publication
History of John Hersey's 'Hiroshima,'" Journalism and Mass
Communication Quarterly, 88:3 (Autumn 2011), 562-579.
The Covert Award is sponsored by the History Division of the Association
for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), and
is named after the late Dr. Catherine Covert, an eminent historian
and Journalism Professor from Syracuse University.
Dr. Forde will be presented with the award at the AEJMC conference
in Chicago in August.
Arns is the Featured USC Scholar for May
Dr. Jennifer Weil Arns, associate professor in the School of Library
and Information Science, was listed as a featured USC Scholar for
May. Read more >
Arns’ recent research focuses on public libraries as social
and economic units and the contributions they make to the health
and prosperity of the communities in which they are located.
Arns is currently the principal investigator on the Laura Bush
21st Century Librarian research project, Assessing the Economic
Value of Public Library Collections and Services: A Review of the
Literature and Meta-Analysis. She will be sharing her work with
students and colleagues at the Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
in Libraries International Conference to be held in Limerick, Ireland,
Konkle to receive Educator of the Year Award
Visual communications professor Bruce Konkle will receive the
Scholastic Journalism Division’s David Adams Educator of
the Year award during the Association for Education in Journalism
and Mass Communications conference in Chicago in August.
The David Adams Educator of the Year award recognizes a deserving
division member for his or her outstanding performance in the college
and university classroom, as well as in scholastic journalism workshops
Dr. Konkle has taught journalism at both the high school and college
level for several decades, joining the School of Journalism and
Mass Communications faculty in 1985. In addition to his work at
USC, he continues work in scholastic journalism history research
and multiple efforts on behalf of high school journalism.
Save The Date
Annual Literacy Leaders Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, September 11 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
South Carolina State Library
Alumni/Student Mentor Match Night
Tuesday, September 25 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Russell House Ballroom
October 8 - 12
Gamecocks on the Green
Friday, November 9
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org