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College of Information and Communications

J-school honors accomplished alumni at annual ceremony

Top photo: (l to r) Amanda Loveday, Eliza Lynch, Alex Luchsinger and Kelly Davis

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications presented awards to five alumni at the annual awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. The awards recognize exceptional graduates whose careers represent significant professional achievement. The ceremony also honored  a faculty member for excellence in teaching.

Dean Tom Reichert welcomed honorees and guests on behalf of the college. “I’m very humbled and honored to be the dean of the College of Information and Communications. I'll say that nothing is more meaningful to a professor than seeing a former student leave these hallowed halls of the university and achieve success as have our winners tonight.”

The SJMC Alumni Awards provide a moment to reflect on the substantial ties that are created between students and professors in the school — ties that help students develop as professionals long after they leave USC.

“This is a very special night. And I want all of the honorees to just take a moment and enjoy being recognized for what you've done, what you've meant to people, the lives that you've touched, the impact that you've had in your professions. That's not to be taken lightly,” said SJMC Director Damion Waymer.

Based on the hugs, the smiles and the tears of gratitude, the impact of these award winners has been great indeed.

Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Award honors graduates who completed school more than 10 years ago and whose careers represent significant professional achievement. 

Alex Luchsinger

Alex Luchsinger, ‘09, broadcast journalism & ‘17, mass communication, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Journalism
Elon University 

Alex Luchsinger attended USC after serving in the Marines, where he received a Purple Heart for his service. Luchsinger obtained his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from the J-school, which allows him to mentor the next generation of journalists at Elon University as an assistant professor. He’s worked in all spheres of TV news, including working as an embedded producer/videographer with CBS News in Afghanistan.

Luchsinger is also a notable scholar, producing an award-winning documentary, and publishing research in academic journals. 

Amanda Loveday

Amanda Loveday, ‘07, broadcast journalism

Chief Operating Officer
NP Strategy 

Amanda Loveday stayed in Columbia after graduating from USC and grew her career and family in the city that gave her many opportunities. As a reporter, Loveday covered the 2008 primary cycle in South Carolina and interviewed all 20 candidates and served as the emcee for the then-Senator Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey event at Williams Brice Stadium.

After finishing her journalism career, she ran numerous campaigns and served as the executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party and communications director for Congressman Jim Clyburn. Now, she enjoys the challenge of being COO for NP Strategy, a Columbia-based agency with 25 employees across three states. 

Outstanding Young Alumni

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award honors graduates who have completed school within the past 10 years and who have demonstrated significant professional accomplishments early in their careers. 

Eliza Lynch

Eliza Lynch, ‘18, public relations 

Director of Public Relations & External Communications
Boys & Girls Clubs of America 

Based in Atlanta, Eliza Lynch began her career supporting various Fortune 500 companies and is now the Director of Public Relations at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Lynch is viewed as a “rising star” among her peers, working closely with key stakeholders, celebrity alumni and outstanding Club youth.

In addition, Lynch leads the organization’s marketing internship program and is an active participant of a mental health subcommittee with a mission to raise awareness and foster dialogue around emotional well-being, creating a stigma-free environment and building a mentally healthy culture. 

Kerry Moore

Kerry Moore, ‘17, visual communications 

Digital Graphic Designer
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products 

Kerry Moore dreamed of working at Disney since she was two years old. Today, she works as a digital designer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Moore says, “My experience with the College of Information and Communications at USC truly shaped me into a job candidate with all the right technical software and soft employability skills. Some people go to New York or L.A. to pursue their dreams. I came to Orlando four years ago to pursue mine.” 

Tori Richman

Tori Richman, ‘19, visual communications 

Team Photographer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

As a student, Tori Richman was a photography intern for the NFL and her sports coverage helped her become editor-in-chief at The Daily Gamecock. She was later named the South Carolina Student Journalist of the Year by the S.C. Press Association.

Upon graduation, she received an internship as a photographer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This led to a full- time photographer position with the team. Richman has been with them for three and a half years. 

Mary Caldwell Excellence in Teaching

The Mary Caldwell Excellence in Teaching Award is awarded annually to a School of Journalism and Mass Communications faculty member for outstanding teaching. 

Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis, ‘98, master of mass communication 

2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient 

Public relations sequence head and senior instructor Kelly Davis, APR, Fellow PRSA brings nearly three decades of professional experience in public relations to the classroom. She engages students in understanding the wide variety of career opportunities available to them in public relations while preparing them to enter a rapidly changing profession. Her classes involve collaborative, team-based, hands-on learning with a focus on strategy and creative problem-solving in the context of real-world application.

One of her students says, “Kelly has gone above and beyond at helping us identify what we want to do in our future and has made herself a great support system and approachable mentor.” 

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