On Friday, May 4, the Lock Haven University communication program held the annual Rebecca Gross Day awards, celebrating excellence among current students, alumni, and respected media practitioners.
The activities began with a luncheon in the Parsons Union Building, followed by the awards ceremony. The following students were honored with scholarships and awards affiliated with the communication program:
- Brandon Clements — Rebecca Gross Journalism Award
- Gregory Thompson — Excellence in Communication Award
- Lisa Hallock — Margaret Ann Brown Memorial Scholarship
- Erin Leiby — Dr. Saundra K. Hybels Memorial Scholarship, senior award
- Kylee Doyle — Dr. Saundra K. Hybels Memorial Scholarship, junior award
The Rebecca Gross Journalism Award was presented to Brandon Clements, a communication senior in the advertising and public relation track. The student must have a 3.0 grade point average and service in other campus or off-campus activities including volunteer work and paid work related to journalism or mass communication. Clements has served as the executive producer for Havenscope, the student television group, for four years. He was a mentor to other communication students for three years and a member of the LHU football team for four years. He is a member of Lambda Phi Eta, the national communication honor society. He also completed two internships in public relations and marketing and will be entering the management trainee program with Weis Markets following graduation.
“Brandon is an excellent example of what a student in our program can accomplish who has talent, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude toward learning and growing professionally,” said Dr. Karen Kline, LHU Department of Communication and Philosophy chair, before presenting Clements with his award.
The Excellence in Communication Award was presented to Gregory Thompson. The award is given to a non-media communication senior with the highest grade point average. Thompson will be working as a management trainee at Weis Markets this summer and plans to travel and eventually find employment in the marketing field.
Before presenting Thompson with his award, Dr. Matthew Girton, professor of communication, read from Thompson’s response to the question of what advice he would give to freshmen looking to excel academically as he has. “I would tell freshmen that going to class and asking your professors for help is half the battle. … make sure you’re having fun too,” he wrote. “It’s hard to consistently perform at your best without taking time to relax or doing something you enjoy.”
The Margaret Ann Brown Memorial Scholarship was presented to Lisa Hallock. The scholarship is presented to the student who completes at least 72 but not more than 104 credit hours, 12 credit hours of specific LHU courses, and attains the highest grade point average of communication or communication media majors.
In Hallock’s response to the same question, she said receiving a degree isn’t the most important part of the college experience. “It’s about learning and you have to open yourself up to the reality that life isn’t an easy A,” she wrote. “I’ve found that studying things I’m interested in has made it 90 percent easier to do well in school.”
The Dr. Saundra K. Hybels Memorial Scholarship was presented to Kylee Doyle, junior award, and Erin Leiby, senior award. The recipients must excel in the field of journalism and mass communication, demonstrate financial need and have a minimum grade point average of 2.5. The students also must write an essay to be considered for the scholarship.
In Doyle’s essay, she described the numerous leadership positions and she has held throughout her academic career as well as her community and extensive club involvement. “… I want to benefit the lives of others and share the knowledge I have to help others succeed,” she wrote in her essay. “When I finish college, I plan to work for a nonprofit organization because I want to continue to serve those who may be in need.”
In Leiby’s essay, she described herself as “an active leader in the public relations and advertising field.” She is a past president of the Public Relations Club, completed an internship with Geisinger Corporate Communications, and aspires to work in the health field.
In addition to the student awards, Jason Wildenstein ’96, was presented with the Outstanding Communication Graduate Award and served as a speaker during the ceremony. Wildenstein is the vice president and general manager of WTXL-TV in Tallahassee, Florida.
Wildenstein spoke to the attendees about his career experiences and reminded the students that they need to face challenges to achieve their career goals. “Love what you do. Be able to take risks. Be courageous in what you do and you’ll be successful,” he said.
“The Rebecca Gross Award ceremony is a yearly reminder of the privilege and joy it is to instruct such remarkable students,” Girton said. “Past and present awardees continue to inspire both faculty and majors to reach beyond our expectations.”
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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