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SJMC honors accomplishments of alumni

Posted October 25, 2018 

View and/or download all photos of the event from our Flickr site »

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications presented awards to seven recipients at the annual Alumni Awards on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. The awards recognize exceptional graduates and faculty whose careers represent significant professional achievement.

“This event tops my list as one of my favorite school events of the year,” said Dr. Andrea Tanner, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “As an educator, it’s incredibly rewarding to catch up with alumni who have utilized what they learned in the SJMC to become the best in their field.  This year we recognized a president and CEO of a leading pharmaceutical company, a Grammy- and Emmy-award winning musician and journalists representing media outlets such as Glamour Magazine, The Washington Post and WXIA TV in Atlanta.”

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award honors graduates of the school who have demonstrated a history of exemplary work in their professional careers and who have been out of school for at least 10 years. The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are:

alumni awards

Mark Bryan, ‘89, Hootie and the Blowfish, Music Industry Artist in Residence, Creator/Host/ Executive Producer of Live at the Charleston Music Hall

Mark Bryan is a founding member, songwriter and guitar player for Hootie & the Blowfish. He has spent the last 30 years recording and touring, and now has three solo albums to his credit. Since moving to Charleston, Bryan has produced seven albums while also co-writing and producing countless songs for other artists. He was instrumental in founding the student-run radio station at the College of Charleston, where he is an adjunct professor and artist-in-residence. Bryan’s company, Chucktown Music Group, recently won an Emmy for their live-concert television series called “Live at the Charleston Music Hall.” Bryan created the show and is its host.

alumni awards

Lou Kennedy, ‘84, President/CEO/Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Lou Kennedy is the president, chief executive officer and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. She joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and accepted the position of president and chief executive officer in September 2007. At Nephron, Lou created a national sales force, which is a rarity in the pharmaceutical industry. In the years following the creation of this sales force, Nephron Pharmaceuticals grew by 300% and increased shipped product to one billion doses each of the last seven years.

alumni awards

Andrew Pierrotti, ‘03, Investigative Reporter, WXIA TV, NBC

Andy Pierrotti is an investigative reporter with WXIA TV, the NBC TV affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an accomplished journalist recognized with awards from the George Foster Peabody organization, numerous regional Emmy awards, the Headliners Foundation, Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), Associated Press, Scripps Howard Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the John Jay Criminal Justice College in New York City. His investigations have led to changes in state laws, criminal indictments and individuals being freed from jail.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award honors graduates who have been out of school for 10 years or less but have already demonstrated great professional accomplishments early in their careers. The 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients are:

alumni awards

Justin Fenner, '10, Senior Associate Editor, Gear Patrol

Justin Fenner is the style and grooming editor at Gear Patrol. His work examines and evaluates products and services across a range of growing markets and uncovers how emerging trends impact our daily lives. Previously, Fenner worked as a staff writer and editor at some of the nation’s leading websites and magazines, including POPSUGAR, Details and GQ Men’s Journal, where he explored the intersections of fashion, popular culture, politics and emerging media.

alumni awards

Isabelle Khurshudyan, '14, Sports Reporter, The Washington Post

Isabelle Khurshudyan is a sports reporter for The Washington Post, and specifically, their beat reporter for the Washington Capitals hockey team. Isabelle joined the Post in 2014 as a summer intern, and she covered high school sports and college athletics in her first year there. She’s been on the Capitals beat for the past three seasons, most notably chronicling the team’s first Stanley Cup championship this past summer. Isabelle also spent a month working in the Post’s Moscow bureau, where she covered anti-Putin election protests and why the #MeToo movement had yet to catch on in Russia.

alumni awards

Chris Rosa, '15, Entertainment Sports Writer, Glamour at Conde Nast

Christopher Rosa is the entertainment staff writer at Glamour magazine, where he covers movies, TV, music and all things pop culture. Chris joined Glamour in August 2016 after spending a year at, where he wrote breaking news, features and BuzzFeed-style listicles about entertainment. At Glamour, Chris works on both digital and print content, writes essays and conducts interviews with celebrities, some of which have included Lady Gaga, Drew Barrymore and Meghan Trainor. His most recent interview was with “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz for Glamour’s November 2018 cover.  

Mary Caldwell Excellence in Teaching Award

The Mary Caldwell Excellence in Teaching Award is awarded annually to an SJMC faculty member for outstanding teaching. The 2018 recipient is:

alumni awards

August E. Grant, J. Rion McKissick Professor of Journalism, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence

Augie's teaching and research combine the study of traditional and emerging media, with emphases on journalism, media management, organizational structure, integrated communication and consumer behavior. His work in convergent journalism includes co-author of Principles of Convergent Journalism, co-editor of Understanding Media Convergence and Framing Public Life, chairing 12 conferences on convergent journalism, and directing the Newsplex Summer Seminar program to train academics in convergent journalism.

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