Every day, SJMC alumni make important contributions not only to their individual workplaces but also society. Here are some of our most distinguished graduates.
Outstanding Achievement Award
The University confers its Outstanding Achievement Award on graduates or former students of the University who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level. The following list includes SJMC alumni who have received the OAA since 1952.
Ellen Wartella, 2015
Burton Cohen, 2005
Michele Norris, 2006
Dave Mona, 2008
Raymond P. Christensen, 1991
William Allard, 1994
Stone K. Shih, 1995
Graham Hovey, 1985
Charles W. Roberts, 1985
Albert Milgrom, 1988
Harry Reasoner, 1970
Harry E. Atwood, 1971
Warren Agee, 1973
Harold L. Nelson, 1973
Theodore B. Peterson, 1973
John R. Finnegan, 1974
Geri Joseph, 1974
Otta A. Silha, 1974
Robert M. Pirsig, 1975
Bob Eddy, 1976
Larry Gates, 1976
Victor Cohn, 1978
Roy Wilkins, 1960
Raymond O. Mithun, 1961
Carl T. Rowan, 1961
Richard M. Scammon, 1963
Malcolm S. Maclean, 1968
Nat S. Finney, 1952
Harrison Salisbury, 1955
Eric Sevareid, 1955
Other University honors awarded to SJMC alumni
Roy Wilkins, Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1976
Mohamed Benaissa, Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2007
Chikuen (C. K.) Lau, University’s Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, 2008
Carl T. Rowan, Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2000
Every year, the SJMC Alumni Board names a recipient of the Alumni Award for Excellence. The award is given to an SJMC alumni/ae who exemplifies excellence, leadership, and creativity in his or her chosen field. The award is presented at the School’s annual Spring Celebration in May. The award, first given in 1980, has been awarded to graduates of the School representing many different facets of the communications industry, including advertising, public relations, print journalism, broadcast journalism, photography and academia.
For more information about the award, contact the SJMC Alumni Society Board.
Christine Hikock Fruechte, CEO, Colle+McVoy, BIS 1989
David Carr, journalist, New York Times, BA 1981.
Bob Fransen, Minnesota broadcast legend, BA 1943.
Annie Griffiths, photographer, National Geographic, BA 1976.
Gail Marks Jarvis, finance columnist for The Chicago Times and author, BA 1973.
Scott Meyer, founding member, Mona, Meyer, McGrath & Gavin and former CEO of Weber Shandwick, BA 2004.
Chuck Porter, chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, BA 1967.
Don Gillmor, professor emeritus, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, MA 1950, PhD 1961
Regina McCombs, senior producer for multimedia, StarTribune, MA 2003
Carol Pine, owner/founder of Pine and Partners, BA 1967
Howard Liszt, CEO of Campbell Mithun and Senior Fellow in the SJMC, BA 1968
DJ Leary, political media consultant and Minnesota Politics co-founder and editor, BA 1961
William Albert Allard, photographer and writer, National Geographic Society, BA 1964
Paul Brainerd, Founder, Aldus Corporation and Brainerd Foundation, MA 1975
Lynn Casey, CEO of Padilla Speer Beardsley, MA 1980
Trish Van Pilsum, WCCO-TV, BA 1984
David Royle, National Geographic Explorer's executive producer, MA 1988
Jean Ward, SJMC Professor Emeritus, BA 1952, MA 1961
Dave Floren, Martin Williams Inc., BA 1961
James J. Klobuchar, StarTribune, BA 1950
Burton D. Cohen, MSP Communications, BA 1955
Wilbur E. Elston, Grosse Pointe News, BA 1934
Dave Mona, Mona, Meyer, McGrath & Gavin, BA 1965
Betty M. Wilson, StarTribune, MA 1969
Charles W. Roberts, Newsweek, BA 1940
John R. Finnegan, Sr., St. Paul Pioneer Press, BA 1948, MA 1965
Marshall Tanick, Mansfield & Tanick Law Firm, BA 1948, MA 1965
Otto A. Silha, Cowles Media, BA 1940
Geri Joseph, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota, BA 1945
Ron Handberg, WCCO-TV, BA 1960
James Whalen, University of St. Thomas, BA 1947
Bob Shaw, Minnesota Newspaper Association, BA 1949
Harold Chucker, StarTribune, BA 1940
In 2011, the SJMC Alumni Society Board announced a new award: the Above the Fold. The award recognizes alums under the age of 40 who have achieved great accomplishment and prestige early in their careers. The award will have a minimum of two winners, one from each track of study at SJMC: professional journalism and strategic communication. To nominate a candidate please visit z.umn.edu/sjmcabovethefold.
Elizabeth Dunbar (B.A. 2004), reporter, Minnesota Public Radio
McKenna Ewen (B.A. 2009), video journalist, The Washington Post
Tara Raddohl (B.A. 1999), director of corporate relations, Sam's Club
Katie (Woit) Rottier (B.A. 2003), head of industry for sports retail, Google
Brian Bakst (BA 1999), political reporter, Minnesota Public Radio
Susan (Filkins) Beatty (BA 1998), public relations and social media manager, Bremer Bank
Sara Kehaulani Goo (BA 1998), senior digital editor, Pew Research Center
Susan (Newbauer-Hampton) Young, (BA 1998) - senior vice president, McCann XBC
Luke Behrends (BA 2004), associate creative director, Anomaly New York
Lee Hutton III (BA 1999), attorney, Zelle Hoffman
Amy Carlson Gustafson (BA, 1999), journalist, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sam Black (BA 1997), senior reporter, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal
Tim Blevins (BA 2002), senior writer, OLSON
Jessica Fleming (BA 1998), food and restaurant editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Vadim Lavrusik (BA 2009), journalist program manager, Facebook
Gabby Nelson (BA 2003), director of internal and external relations, Select Comfort
Alan Bjerga (MA 1998), agricultural policy reporter, Bloomberg News
Danielle Engholm (BA 1996), director, Padilla Spear Beardsley
Mary Lahammer (BA 1995), political reporter for Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac" and host of "Almanac: At the Capitol"
Tim Larson (BA 2001), president and CEO of Jostens