Scripps Celebration honors alumni, faculty and staff
By Heather Farr
On Sunday, April 29, students, faculty and staff of the Scripps College of Communication gathered in the Baker Center Ballroom for the annual Scripps College Celebration. Amidst white tablecloths and fancy finger foods, the Scripps family gathered to celebrate the year’s achievements, as well as those of the past and those to come. According to Dean Scott Titsworth, who emceed the event, the celebration is held to honor the college’s committed faculty, dedicated staff, motivated students and, of course, impressive alumni.
“We should all be proud of the fact that in our school’s short lifespan of roughly 40 years, our former students have went on to do just phenomenal things. We bring our alumni back to celebrate not only their accomplishments out of school, but also the commitment they’ve shown once they graduate,” Titsworth said prior to the banquet.
According to Titsworth, the individuals who come back continue to be engaged and prove that one’s time at Ohio University does not end at commencement in the Convocation Center. This year’s Ohio Communication Hall of Fame inductees are no exception. At this year’s banquet, the college inducted alumnus John A. Cassese, BSC ’76, MA ’79, and The Enlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded and directed by alumna Xin Liu, MA ’96, and her husband Yongping Duan.
Alumnus Ric Roe took the podium to honor Cassese, after a short video full of student, faculty and family praise. Roe told the story of a chubby, unconfident young Roe who grew up to be an Ohio University Forensics Team all-star with the help of Cassese, the assistant coach at the time. According to Roe, Cassese was always there to stand behind him and say, “You did it!”
“Now it’s my turn,” Roe said. “John, you did it!”
Inductees into the Hall of Fame demonstrate lifetime achievement and a tie to Ohio University or the state of Ohio. Cassese, who specialized in Radio Television at OHIO, has more than 30 years experience in creation, development and production of meetings and events for Fortune 500 companies. He is also one of the principals and co-founders of Concentric Communications (link to: http://www.ketchum.com/concentric) in New York City. In addition, Cassese has supported the Forensics program at OHIO by endowing the John A. Cassese Chair of Forensics, and for nearly ten years, he returned to the university as a visiting instructor.
The Enlight Foundation, another inductee and winner of the Joan Herrold Wood Award for Lifetime Commitment, has given a total of $1.9 million to students and programs in the Scripps College of Communication. The foundation has given various scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students of Chinese origin to study in various Scripps programs. During the ceremony, a video played featuring students and staff who have been influenced by the foundation. According to President Roderick McDavis, the Enlight Foundation gives back to support students, faculty and the academic institutions they care about.
Several other faculty, staff and students were recognized for their service to the college. Jeff Redefer of the School of Media Arts and Studies received the L.J Hortin Faculty Mentor Award for his dedication to and impact on students inside and outside the classroom. The Dean’s Outstanding Faculty Service Award was given to Dr. Phyllis Bernt of the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems Management. The award was established last year to recognized a faculty member who goes above and beyond his or her duties as a professor. The Employee of the Year award went to Gayle McKerrow of the School of Communication Studies, and Student Employees of the Year were Mark Eselgroth, a student assistant in the School of Media Arts and Studies, and Heather Farr, a student employee of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Throughout the night, the college’s many accomplishments over the past year were noted. Dean Titsworth recognized the success of the recent Schuneman Symposium, as well as the media management conference. Both Dean Titsworth and President McDavis recognized the Forensics Team’s recent national ranking. President McDavis also noted that the Scripps College of Communication is the only entire college in the state of Ohio to be considered a Center of Excellence.
“It not only speaks well for our faculty and students of today, but it speaks well for the alumni of the Scripps College, because I believe and talk about often that we are all standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us,” McDavis said.
According to Dean Titsworth, the school celebrates each year to not only recognize past accomplishments, but also to energize the faculty, staff and students for the next year. The college also comes together, he says, to celebrate some simple things.
“In our college we want to honor the craft of telling stories, of connecting the world, of establishing community,” Dean Titsworth said. “Those are really the values we hold dear as communications professionals.”
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