Alumni Awards

alumni awards

Each year, the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and its Alumni Society Board honor alumni in a variety of categories.

Award descriptions and previous winners are listed below. Undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degree alumni of the Bellisario College are eligibile for awards. Departmental faculty, Alumni Society Board members, or any alumnus or friend of the Bellisario College may submit nominations for these awards.

Awards Nomination Form

Outstanding Alumni Award

Presented to a graduate of the Bellisario College of Communications who has demonstrated excellence in the field of communications, contributed significantly to their profession and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues and students within their community.

Past Winners

  • 2019: Lynne Getz ('98 Telecom), blogger "Like a Mother" and podcaster, direct sales
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2018: Ron Regan ('75 Journ), chief investigative reporter, WEWS-TV
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2017: David Skidmore ('79 Journ), media relations officer and speech editor, Federal Reserve Board
  • 2016: Nina Jack ('92 Film), television producer
  • 2015: Jayne Miller ('76 Journ), investigative journalist, WBAL-TV 
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2014: Joanne Calabria ('74 Journ), vice president of public affairs for CBS Television Group 
  • 2013: Kathleen Pavelko ('79g Journ), president/CEO WITF Public Media
  • 2012: Lara Spencer ('91 Journ), lifestyle anchor "Good Morning America"
  • 2011: Paula Froke ('82 Journ), assistant managing editor, The Associated Press
  • 2010: Joseph Krushinsky ('85 Telecom/Journ), vice president, Maryland Public Television
  • 2009: Tanya Biank ('93 Journ), author, "Army Wives," and journalist
  • 2008: Mark Livolsi ('84 Film), film editor, iTalent ("Wedding Crashers," "The Devil Wore Prada")
  • 2007: Jeff Baum ('85, Journ), vice president, Global Communications, EDS
  • 2006: Mary Meder ('83, Adv), president, Harmelin Media
  • 2005: David Lipson ('78 Adv), president, Metrocorp Holdings (Philadelphia Magazine)

Achievement Award

Presented to a Bellisario College graduate or friend whose significant contributions to the Bellisario College and/or University, in terms of time and talent, have brought distinction to themselves, the Bellisario College and the University.

Past Winners

  • 2019: Diane Salvatore ('81 Journ), editor-in-chief, Consumer Reports
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2018: Jeff Ballou ('90 Journ), news editor for the Americas, Al Jazeera Media Network
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2017: Laurence Moskowitz ('73 Journ), founder, managing partner, chief executive, Lumentus
  • 2016: Lou Prato ('58 Journ), TV news director, Penn State sports historian
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2015: Mimi Coppersmith ('53 Journ), founder Town&Gown magazine, University donor and volunteer
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2014: Bill Jaffe ('60 Journ), University donor and volunteer
  • 2013: Chris Wheeler ('67 Brdcast), broadcaster, Philadelphia Phillies
  • 2012: Alex Ward ('66 Journ), The New York Times 
  • 2011: Ben Bronstein ('61 Journ), public relations, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (retired)
  • 2010: Thomas Loebig ('80 Journ), director of digital media content and operations, AccuWeather
  • 2009: Robert McKinnon ('91 Adv), founder/president, Galewill social change agency
  • 2008: Chris Wightman ('84 Journ), managing director, communications, U.S. Golf Association
  • 2007: Marv Krasnansky ('72 Journ), retired VP of corporate communications at McKesson
  • 2006: Robert O'Leary ('71, Adv), former senior vice president of public relations for Sears Roebuck & Co.;
  • 2005: Kerrie Carfagno ('94 Brcab), college instructor

Emerging Professional Award

Presented annually to recent alumni (10 years or less since graduation) for professional achievements and/or distinguished community service.

Past Winners

  • 2019: Andre McGill ('10 Journ), senior product manager, The Atlantic
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2018: Jeff Lowe ('13 Journ), co-founder, "Lights, Camera, Action"
  • 2017: Tony Mancuso ('08 Ad/PR), manager, digitial media services, New York Jets
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2016: Tyler Walk ('06 Film), award-winning film editor
  • 2015: Arianna Davis ('09 Journ), staff editor, US Weekly
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2014: Blake Berson ('05 Journ), producer, CBS Sports
  • 2013: Michael Chobot ('09 Film-Video), sound mixer, DuArt Film
  • 2012: Sara Ganim ('08 Journ), reporter, CNN
  • 2011: Sheil Kapadia ('05 Journ), sports editor,
  • 2010: Reenie Dyball ('02 Journ), writer,
  • 2009: Evan Harris ('04 Telecom), marketing/promotions, CBS College Sports
  • 2008: Erin Hazard ('99 Adv/PR), senior vice president, consumer markets, Fleishman-Hillard
  • 2007: David Schaefer ('99 Adv/PR), manager of publicity for Discovery Channel
  • 2006: Brad Young ('96 Journ), associate publisher, marketing, Fortune Magazine
  • 2005: Ryan Hockensmith ('01 Journ), editor, ESPN The Magazine

Douglas A. Anderson Communications Contributor

A newly created award presented by the Alumni Society Board in 2012 to acknowledge the contributions and/or achievements of an individual(s) in the field of communications as they relate to the Bellisario College, Penn State and/or the Commonwealth. The recipient may not be a graduate of the Bellisario College (as there are other awards to recognize alumni achievement). The recipient could, however, still be a Penn State graduate.

Past Winners

  • 2019: Michael Greenwald ('63), WITF Public Broadcasting
  • 2018: Fred Young, Hearst Television
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2017: Nancy Eshleman, columnist, Harrisburg Patriot-News and
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2016: Barbara Palmer, honorary alumnus, community leader and philanthropist
  • 2015: Jim Gardner, news anchor, WPVI-TV
    VIDEO: Acceptance Speech
  • 2014: Fran Fisher, the "voice of Penn State football," supporter, volunteer
  • 2013: Gene Foreman, visiting professor, journalism editor/executive, College of Communications
  • 2012: Doug Anderson, Dean of the College of Communications

Excellence in Teaching Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize those Bellisario College faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, contributed significantly to the growth of students' learning, and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues, students, and alumni. Nominees will be judged on their ability to inspire students and improve the classroom environment, their breadth and depth of knowledge of their subject, and their dedication outside the classroom. Nominations may be submitted by undergraduate students, graduate students, and student organizations. 

Past Winners

Click here to access nomination form

For all awards


Undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degree alumni of the Bellisario College are eligibile for awards. Present Alumni Society board members are not eligible.


Departmental faculty, Alumni Society Board members, or any alumnus or friend of the Bellisario College may submit nominations for these awards.

Awards Nomination Form