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SPJ honors Kathleen Wickham with David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award

For Immediate Release

Lauren Rochester, Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210, lrochester@spj.org
Scott Leadingham, SPJ Communications Department, (317) 927-8000, ext. 211, sleadingham@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Dr. Kathleen Wickham of the University of Mississippi with the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award.

As the University of Mississippi SPJ student chapter adviser, Wickham has led the group to win Outstanding Student Chapter for Region 12 in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Wickham also teaches several classes in the university’s journalism department, including Mass Media Ethics and Social Issues, Advanced Reporting and Writing for the Media. Before becoming a professor, Wickham worked for such publications as The Star Ledger in Newark, N.J., and Gannett News Services in Arlington, Va. She has also freelanced for The New York Times, Quill – SPJ’s member magazine – and many others. During the 2007-08 year, Wickham served as chairwoman of the newspaper division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Dr. Wickham has devoted an amazing amount of energy to SPJ activities and student membership over the years to the point that she is practically synonymous with SPJ on this campus,” Wickham’s fellow Department of Journalism professor Joe Atkins wrote in his nomination letter. “The bond that she enjoys with students is obvious and inspirational.”

Wickham’s students agree with Atkins about that special bond. Both past and present students praised Wickham’s ability to get the best out of her students and her everlasting commitment to education.

“In my opinion, she is the perfect model for a SPJ chapter adviser,” University of Mississippi student chapter president Ellen McClurkin wrote in her nomination letter. “She is a highly dedicated professional who knows how to motivate her students to strive for excellence. Both in the lecture hall and in her capacity as SPJ adviser, Dr. Wickham works tirelessly to inform and educate her students.”

As a member of SPJ since 1994, Wickham has dedicated more than a decade of service to the organization. Upon hearing she was awarded with the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award, Wickham said she will share the award with her students because their outstanding participation helped make the chapter a vital part of the Department of Journalism.

“I have to give the credit to my students who shared my belief in the importance of an active SPJ chapter on campus,” Wickham said. “They are the ones who posted the flyers, supported the programs through their attendance and participation, entered the contests and paid the dues. Sometimes I was the engine with a dozen programming ideas, and other times I was the caboose trying to catch up with their ideas. It has been a wonderful ride either way.”

Wickham will be recognized Friday, Sept. 5 during a luncheon at the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Atlanta. For more information about the event, visit www.spj.org/convention.

The David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award honors individuals who have done an outstanding job serving as an SPJ campus adviser and contributed to their chapters and the national organization over an extended period of time. Only one award may be given annually unless the committee agrees that no candidates are available for that year. Candidates are nominated by their chapter, and applications are reviewed by the vice president for campus chapter affairs before the national honoree is selected. In 1993, the SPJ board of directors voted to change the award name to the David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award in order to honor Eshelman, a longtime member of the Society and Board “Parliamentarian,” who was killed in 1993.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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