School of Communication awards distinguished alumni

Scott A. Myers, Ph.D., accepts the Distinguished Alumni Award during the Taylor Hall Reopening Celebration on Friday, Sep. 22, 2017.

Alex Tinline

The School of Communication Studies celebrated Taylor Hall’s reopening and the school’s 85th anniversary Sept. 22 with an annual alumni award ceremony.

Four Kent State alumni were recognized with three awards:

Centennial Award winner: Carol Wilder, Ph.D., class of 1974; professor and dean of the School Media Studies, The New School, New York.

Distinguished Alumni Award winner: Scott Myers, Ph.D., class of 1995; professor and Peggy Rardin McConnell Endowed Chair, Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Outstanding Young Professional Award winners: JaRel Clay, BA, class of 2011; digital content manager, the Center for a New American Security, Washington, D.C., and Arianne Gasser, BA, class of 2011; research associate, the O’Neill Consulting Group, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“They really have set the standards high and especially in the range of what they do,” said Elizabeth Garlinger, a first year masters student in communication studies at Kent State. “It gives a lot of hope to other graduate students as well as undergraduate students.”

The Outstanding Young Professional Award honors a graduate of the program who has had five to 15 years of professional experience and has demonstrated success within their career. This award typically only given to one person; however, that was not the case this year.

Elizabeth Graham, Ph.D. and Director of the School of Communication Studies, said that a decision between the two recipients, Clay and Gasser, could not be made so they awarded both of the Kent State alumni.

Gasser said she was nonetheless honored to receive the award.

“Everyone here has just been so supportive and I am very thankful and I feel like I have accomplished good things,” Gasser said about Kent State faculty. “But I feel like I am capable of so much more, and you all make me feel that way,”

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication also had their annual JMC Alumni and Friends Award Ceremony on Friday.

Two Kent State Alumni were recognized, along with one other recipient who is considered a friend of JMC. 

The Fast-Track Award winner: Brianne Kimmel, class of 2011; growth marketing lead at Zendesk, San Francisco.

The Sharon Marquis Friends of JMC Award winner: Edwige Winans; guest lecturer since 2014 to students in the Public Relations Case Studies course.

The William D. Taylor Award winner: Laura Gordan, class of 1987; general manager at Edelman, oversees global communications, federal government and employee engagement sectors, Washington D.C.

The award was presented to Kimmel by the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Communication and Information, Danielle Coombs. 

“Brianne represents the best of what we hope our students will achieve,” Coombs said. “I am so very, very proud that we get to call her one of our own.”

Of the 6,900 Kent State JMC alumni, many have gone on to top jobs in media companies throughout the United States. Some of whom have even won professional honors.

“Many universities can give you an education,” Kimmel said. “But I truly believe Kent State will give you a voice.”

Alex Tinline is the transportation reporter. Contact her at [email protected].