Five graduates of Marshall University’s W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SOJMC) are being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame later this month. Sean Callebs, John Hackworth, Susan Lavenski, Chris Stadelman and Dave Wellman officially will be inducted during a Friday, Sept. 29, ceremony.
“The five alumni being honored each have left their own unique marks on mass communications,” said Chris Dickerson, president of the SOJMC Alumni Advisory Board, which handled the nomination process. “All of them are proud alumni of Marshall University, and they all are the types of alums the school and the university should be proud to call our own. They all are quite deserving of this honor.”
The Hall of Fame was established in the 1970s and currently has 53 people enshrined. Last year, Dr. Charles Bailey, Mike Cherry, Jody Jividen, Chad Pennington and Peter Ruest were inducted during a ceremony that drew more than 200 guests.
“Taking time to reflect on the successes of our graduates is a highlight of the year,” said Janet Dooley, associate dean of the College of Arts and Media and SOJMC director. “It’s rewarding to note how many have achieved national prominence and to recognize those who have achieved distinction in this region. They have made worthy contributions to the field of journalism and mass communications, and we are indeed fortunate to count this year’s induction class among our alums.”
Callebs, a 1983 SOJMC graduate, has traveled the world doing documentaries and working as a CNN correspondent and anchor. An Emmy winner, he also served as a U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan in 2011. Callebs’ current position is at CGTN America.
Hackworth, a 1971 SOJMC graduate, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for editorial writing. Working for the Sun newspapers in Charlotte County, Florida, he won the Pulitzer for a series of editorials about the beating death of an inmate at Charlotte Correctional Institution. Hackworth previously worked at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and at The Ashland Daily Independent in Kentucky.
Lavenski, a 1992 SOJMC graduate who earned a master’s degree from the school in 1994, is CEO and co-owner of Charles Ryan Associates, one of the largest communications firms in the region. In her two decades with the company, Lavenski has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies and local public figures. Her work has garnered results and numerous awards.
Stadelman, a 1992 SOJMC graduate, is owner of Stadelman Consulting, a research and public affairs company. Before that, he served as chief of staff for former West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and previously was his communications director. Stadelman also was publisher of the Standard newspapers, editor and publisher of The Parsons Advocate and managing editor of the Charleston Daily Mail.
Wellman, a 1975 SOJMC graduate, has been Marshall University’s Director of Communications since 2001. He started that job after a 25-year career as a writer and editor at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. In addition to numerous awards and honors during his time at The H-D, Wellman also co-authored some books about Marshall University’s football program.
Inductees need to have a connection to the SOJMC, such as being a graduate or a faculty member, and should meet at least one of two major criteria to be nominated:
- A graduate of Marshall’s JMC program who has contributed to Journalism and Mass Communications as a profession. The nominee has made a contribution to the profession of journalism or has made a positive impact upon the profession.
- Contribution(s) to Marshall University’s SOJMC. The nominee, either through talent, treasure or activity, has made an outstanding impact upon the school.
The public is invited to attend. Tickets to the ceremony, which includes a dinner and a pre-event reception, are $50 per person or $350 for a table of 10. Those interested can register at sojmc2017.rsvpify.com.
For more information or questions about the SOJMC Hall of Fame, please contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org.