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From the Dean

If you knew Augusta...

"How many of you met or knew Augusta Baker?" I asked at the annual Augusta Baker lecture at Richland County Public Library. At least half the hands in the large audience shot up. Impressive, considering that in April we marked the centenary of her birth and she passed away in 1998.

I never met the distinguished pioneer in children's literature, revered librarian, gifted storyteller and inspiration for countless authors and illustrators. But I'm always pleased to be a part of our collaboration with RCPL and other sponsors in the spring celebration of "A(ugusta) Baker's Dozen."

Author Patricia Reilly Giff—"Augusta Baker's Irish sister," according to Sam Hastings — charmed with her reflections on "diamond doorknobs" as the 25th annual Augusta Baker lecturer. I think she also tacitly gave us permission to leave an occasional coffee drip, chocolate smudge or grain of beach sand in the books that capture our attention. Don't do that on your e-reader, though.

Even better news was the view of historian and critic Leonard Marcus — two lectures for the price (free) of one this year — that electronic books are not going to take the place of the experience of real, tactile children's books. Try getting the fluffy sensation of "Pat the Bunny" from a plastic screen.

Baker Books"Picture books are like food for young kids," says Marcus. Now we all know that a child will occasionally turn up her nose at certain foods. Brussels sprouts, in my case, as a child and adult. "A book," sniffed one of the four-year-old twin granddaughters (I won't say which one) last Christmas. But the girls all know that Grandpa brings books. Each has her favorites and is eager to demonstrate advancing reading skills.

That's the message behind every Cocky's Reading Express™ school visit. Each child promises to take the book Cocky gives her and read it with her parents, grandparents, siblings, pets to develop a passion for reading. Cocky and our student readers were at Carver-Lyon elementary school in Columbia the other day, along with an ESPN camera crew. Cocky's Reading Express™ will be featured on a summer broadcast on ESPNU, the sports giant's collegiate network headed by SJMC alumna Rosalyn Durant. We'll alert you to the show's airtime.

The SLIS literacy initiative, which encompasses these programs and more, has great momentum. Augusta Baker has been very much our inspiration. Now, go read to your kids, grandkids, neighbors, dog, cat….

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Alumni News

Alumni Recognized at SCPRSA Mercury Awards

Many J-school alumni were honored at the South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America's (SCPRSA) annual Mercury Awards April 14, and two of our grads took some of the top awards.

Kelly and George photoFor the second year in a row, alumna Kelly Jackson Davis ('98) of Davis Public Relations and Marketing received the overall Best in Show Mercury Award. The agency was recognized for its "Dawn of a New Day" brand campaign for LRADAC, the authority for the prevention, intervention and treatment of substance abuse for Lexington and Richland Counties.

In special recognition, SCPRSA announced the renaming of its Community Spirit Award in honor of alumnus and longtime SCPRSA member George L. Johnson, MA '96, APR, Fellow PRSA. Johnson retired in 2010 from a 32-year public relations career with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Johnson was recognized for his lifelong commitment to community service and for his dedicated work in improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians. He has been an adjunct faculty member at the J-school since 1997.

SCPRSA also awarded a scholarship to public relations major Connor Watkins.  For a list of all awards presented, please click here. http://www.scprsa.org/SCPRSAMercurywinners.htm

Alumnus Tenured and Promoted

Dr. Tim Brown, who received his Ph.D. from the J-school in 2005, has been tenured and promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Since obtaining his doctorate, Brown has taught broadcast reporting and media in society courses at UCF.

MMC Students' Work Recognized

Keep the Midlands Beautiful, a Columbia nonprofit organization focused on litter prevention and beautification, recognized four School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate students for their work developing the new "Hot, Not Trashy" campaign at its April meeting. Matt McColl, Caroline Pollard, Rachael Renken and Laura Wedell created the comprehensive campaign for their Integrated Communications Campaigns class, taught by Lisa Sisk.

Keep the Midlands Beautiful began rolling out the students' print advertisements and other tactics on Earth Day. All four students have completed the requirements for the Master of Mass Communication degree and will graduate May 6.

College News

Awards Presented at Deans' & Directors' Lecture

The School of Library and Information Science honored five individuals with awards at its 26th annual Deans' and Directors' Lecture, April 7, 2011. The F. William Summers Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to alumnus Rayburne Turner, '00, reference manager at the Charleston County Public Library. The John N. Olsgaard Distinguished Service Award was awarded to David Goble, director of the South Carolina State Library. Alumna Natalie Couch, '10, was awarded the Wayne S. Yenawine Distinguished Student Award, and the William M. Trafton III Outstanding Student Award for Leadership was awarded to Sara Mason Rosensteel, '11. Dr. Dan Barron, distinguished professor emeritus and former director of the School of Library and Information Science, received a Special Award of Merit from current director, Dr. Samantha Hastings. (We're calling this occasional and special recognition the "Sammy" award.) In addition, seventeen graduates were inducted into Beta Phi Mu, the library and information science honor society.

School News

J-school Unanimously Reaccredited

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications received final approval of its reaccreditation on Friday when the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications met in Portland, Oregon.  The school’s director, Dr. Carol Pardun, reports from the meeting that ACEJMC’s vote was unanimous.  The school has been continuously accredited since 1954.

Upcoming Events

May Carolina Alumni Weekend
May 13-14

Make plans to join us and let the natural beauty of the University of South Carolina campus inspire you this spring! Hope to see you at the following events hosted by our college:

May CarolinaMay 13, 3:30 p.m., Hollings Library
Social Media: Not Just For Your "Friends"

May 14, 2:30 p.m., Carolina Coliseum
Annual Alumni Society Baseball Gathering
Bring your own food and drink and enjoy mingling with other alumni, faculty and staff of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. We'll take the Gameday Shuttle to the baseball stadium. Shuttle cost is $2 per passenger.

May 14, 4:30 p.m., Carolina Stadium
Baseball Game vs. Arkansas
Group tickets available for $5 each. RSVP to Bianca Crawford at Bianca@redcarpetcommunications.com if you would like a ticket.

Alumni Spotlight

Charles M. Keefer

Alumnus Charles M. Keefer III has created two scholarships, one in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications where he studied, and the other in the School of Library and Information Science. He supports both schools because, he says, "If you've ever worked in a newsroom, you know how important librarians are. You just can't quantify what they do for the daily newspaper."

Charles KeeferAfter a full career as a journalist in South Florida, Keefer has settled in to what he calls the good life. The 1972 journalism graduate serves his alma mater and his community and enjoys spontaneous treks on his motorcycles.

Keefer worked at the Palm Beach Post as a reporter, bureau chief, state editor, computer programmer and systems editor for more than 30 years. In retirement, he finds plenty to keep him busy. He actively serves on the board of directors of an organization that provides arts programs to county schools.

He established the Kathryn Linwood Scholarship in memory of his friend and fellow journalist who worked at the Miami Herald. What began as a $1,000 scholarship for one journalism student each year has now grown to two $2,000 scholarships, one for a student in the J-school, and the other for a SLIS student.

Keefer feels the changes in journalism shouldn't keep students from entering the field. "There's always going to be journalism. It may not be at a newspaper, but we need reporters,"no matter the platform.

Journalism skills are transferable, he says. "You become a quick study, getting information, putting it in context and clearly communicating it to others.

Last year, Keefer received a thank-you letter from a recipient of one of his scholarships, and he says he was touched. He encourages students to connect with their donors. "You never know. Someday you may be asking that person for a job."

Keefer is a member of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies Dean's Circle, a connection that is evidently important to him. He recently jumped on his new red motorcycle, making the trip all the way from Palm Beach, Fla. to hand-deliver his check.

Faculty Spotlight

Van Kornegay

Van Kornegay, an associate professor in the visual communications sequence of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, says his most memorable teaching moments have occurred outside the classroom, and often outside the borders of the United States. This award-winning educator believes in broadening his students' and his own horizons.

Van Kornegay photo"One summer, I took a group of students to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago for the better part of a month," he recalls.  "While we were there, the students worked on the staff of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper as reporters, graphic artists and in the paper's advertising department."

When Hurricane Fran was bearing down on South Carolina, Kornegay led a group of students on a two-day "hurricane hunt" to the coast, where they stayed in civil defense shelters and covered the storm for The Carolina Reporter. He also has traveled with students to New York, San Francisco and San Diego to visit major media outlets, such as Newsweek, Time and Rolling Stone, as well as some of the world's biggest ad agencies and design firms.

Kornegay's mentorship isn't limited to whole classes. Recently he was project director for an undergraduate Magellan Scholar. "I took her with me to Africa to produce a short documentary on an organization providing assistance to AIDS orphans," he says.

His dedication to teaching is evident. Twice he has won the Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Teaching, and also has received the prestigious Mungo Award. "My love for teaching undoubtedly is the result of being exposed to some great teachers along the way," he says.

"In that spirit I've tried to shape myself into a teacher who is a cross between Mr. Rogers and John Houseman's character in the movie The Paper Chase. I want to be known for setting the bar high and for finding creative ways to challenge students to make the leap over it."

George Stevens, a 2007 visual communications graduate, says, "I still recall snippets of Kornegayan wisdom on a regular basis." Stevens is a graphic designer in Charleston.

"What I liked most about Van is that he didn't adhere to the standard professor/student dynamic. Sure, he graded your projects and slapped a test in front of you every now and then, but his approach was more managerial than anything," he says.

"He wanted an excellent product out of us, and he motivated us to deliver. As a judge of our work, he was reasonable and thorough — important qualities for someone tasked with evaluating something so subjective as design."

Kornegay's extensive professional background in journalism and design prepared him well for teaching. And, he says, he's still learning. "Anyone teaching in this field must frequently retool their methods and learn new skills. Each year students are increasingly savvy with the technologies and processes of graphic production, and it's a demanding challenge to structure course work that combines timely skills with timeless principles."

Before coming to USC, Kornegay worked in higher education media relations and has done freelance graphics and writing. He has been a media trainer and consultant at such far-ranging places as the South Pacific, Albania, Hawaii and Kosovo.

Kornegay says he appreciates the academic and professional mix in the journalism program at USC. "Here, the academic critique of the media rubs up against the realities of professional practice, and in the end, I think both sides benefit from the exchange," he says.  "I like being in this kind of environment."


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