A Few Last Words … Maybe
Journalism alumnus Bob Bentley may not have been larger than life — though
he was burly enough. He just was life. In the decade over which
he shared his journalistic experience and stories, I can't recall
Bob not smiling, engaged and ebullient — a word journalists
do not use lightly. Editors won't let us.
half century as a journalist ended April 26. He was 73. Bob had
retired a decade ago after a stint at the Index-Journal in Greenwood,
but retirement was just a formality preceding the next busy phase
in his life which included being one of the most active alumni
of our School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Bob served
on advisory boards, championed the college's Alumni Society, contributed
annually to the Dean's Circle fund and joyfully cajoled others
to do the same.
Bob's memorial service in Greenwood was replete with stories of
his personality and penchant for taking charge. He'd lined up family,
friends and journalists — our former colleague Dr. Henry
Price among them — to share memories. He delivered instructions
to those he'd personally selected and struck a bargain. Whoever
was last standing would deliver the other's eulogy.
Cancer is the culprit in this tale. Bob was open about it, fought
it hard and, briefly, thought he might have had the fight in hand.
Only a few weeks ago, he told a number of us the cancer had demanded
a rematch. It came sooner and harder than Bob had hoped.
Like an editor laying out tomorrow's paper, Bob had prepared for
it. He wrote his own obituary, describing himself as "an innovative
journalist whose newsroom career began with writing obituaries
and concluded with this one."
His career as journalist and editor took him from the newsroom
of The State in Columbia to points as distant and distinct as Trenton,
N.J., Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., El Paso, Texas, and Bakersfield,
Calif. Readers of The State will know that Bob never stopped writing,
as his letters to the editor appeared frequently. His self-described
retirement was one in which he "never relinquished his writing
role, contributing contemplative columns and feisty letters" to
publications as diverse as USA TODAY and "his beloved weekly
Bob Bentley was, as one of his eulogists noted, a "managing
editor to the end."
Durant Earns Disney’s Black Achiever Award
Rosalyn Durant, broadcast ’99, is the 2012 recipient of
the Disney ABC Television Group’s Black Achiever in Industry
Award. Durant, who currently serves as vice president of ESPNU
and ESPNHS, was honored for her achievement at the New York Marriott
Marquis Hotel, as part of the Harlem YMCA’s 2012 National
Salute to Black Achievers in Industry.
Durant, School of Journalism and Mass Communications distinguished
alumni honoree in 2010, began her career at ESPN as a college intern
in 1998 before joining the network full-time as a coordinator.
She was promoted to vice president of ESPNU in 2008.
The Black Achievers in Industry Awards program was launched by
the Harlem YMCA to honor African-American women and men for outstanding
contributions to their industries and communities and to motivate
minority youth by providing positive role models.
Till Promoted to Assistant News Director at WIS TV
Shana Till, broadcast ’06, has been promoted to assistant
news director at Columbia’s WIS TV. Till joined the NBC affiliate
in 2010 as an executive producer.
After graduating from USC, Till began her TV career in Charleston
at WCSC as a producer, and had a similar role at WSPA in Spartanburg.
Till is an Emmy-nominated journalist with awards from SCBA Star
and SC Associated Press for spot news, newscast and documentary.
McPherson Takes Director Position with Chamber of Commerce
Susan Vaughan McPherson, advertising and public relations ’82,
has joined the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce as director
of governmental affairs and regionalism. In her new position, McPherson,
who previously worked at International Paper, serves as a liaison
to local government officials and their staffs to advocate business
friendly platforms on behalf of the Chamber and its members.
McPherson has more than 35 years of experience in the field of
public, employee, media and government relations. Most recently,
she worked with International Paper's Eastover Mill for 28 years
and is a former member of the Chamber Board of Directors.
Cocky’s Reading Express Partners with South Carolina Young
Lawyers for Reading Celebration
Cocky’s Reading Express has partnered with the Young Lawyers
Division of the South Carolina Bar to provide a week of reading
events in South Carolina schools May 7-11. During the weeklong
Reading Celebration, Young Lawyers will read to students in schools
in 12 different Judicial Circuits with Cocky and the CRE crew joining
for many of the reading events. Reading Celebrations was featured
on Greenville’s Your Carolina television show on April 9.
SLIS Welcomes Two New Faculty Members
The School of Library and Information Science will welcome two
new faculty members this fall. Dr. Dick Kawooya, who obtained a
PhD in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
in 2010, joins the library school after serving as a senior lecturer
at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information
Studies. Dr. JingJing Liu join SLIS from Southern Connecticut State
University, where she has taught information technology, information
organization, and foundations of library and information science.
Liu received her Ph.D. in Information Science from Rutgers University
Galardi Earns Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
The University of South Carolina presented its top honor, the
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, to senior public relations major
Christina Galardi during the university’s annual Awards Day
ceremony on the Horseshoe Thursday, April 19.
Sullivan awards are given each year to one graduating woman and
one graduating man for outstanding achievements, campus leadership,
exemplary character and service to the community. The award, given
at 15 colleges and universities across the country, is named for
the 19th-century New York lawyer and philanthropist.
Galardi, the 2011 USC Homecoming Queen and a member of the college’s
street team, was also recently named the USC 2012 Outstanding Woman
of the Year.
Galardi’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
Graduate Student to Study in Brooklyn this Summer
MLIS student Konni Shier will spend summer in the city — New
York’s Brooklyn borough — to study the industrial waterfront
and the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a National Endowment for the
Shier, who’s an adjunct English instructor at Midlands Technical
College, was one of 300 educators selected to participate in the
program that is aimed at enhancing the teaching of history, literature
and other subjects in the liberal arts. Shier completed the MLIS
program in summer of 2011 and is currently working to obtain a
school media and library certificate.
more about Shier’s summer plans
USC Students Selected as Finalists in National Competition
Advertising junior Maddie McDowell and her teammate Chris Beauregard,
a senior entertainment management major, have been named a finalist
team in the 2012 Media Plan Case Competition. As part of the Washington
Media Scholars Foundation’s Media Scholars Program, the national
competition gives undergraduates valuable learning, career and
scholarship opportunities. McDowell and Beauregard will travel
to Washington, D.C., in June for the competition finals held during
Media Scholars Week.
Visual Communications Students Earn Recognition in Photography
Two visual communications seniors have earned awards from the
South Carolina News Photographers Association. Dustin Glendinning
has been named the South Carolina Student Photographer of the Year
while Aaron Middeke, last year’s award winner, was named
runner-up. In addition, visual communications juniors Jeremy Aaron
and Lee Walker have been awarded a Magellan Scholars grant for
a photography project this fall. The students will document people
and places across South Carolina.
May Carolina Alumni Weekend
University of South Carolina campus
May Carolina Alumni Weekend is a Carolina springtime tradition
that offers innovative and relevant exhibits, lectures, tours and
receptions. Make plans to join us and let the natural beauty of
the University of South Carolina campus inspire you this spring!
For more information, contact Jane Lavender at email@example.com or
Roll with Cocky's Reading Express
Saturday, May 12 - 9:45 11 a.m.
Cocky's Reading Express continues to roll to advance literacy
in many ways. You are invited to come check out the program's new
bus, donated by BP earlier this year, and hear updates on how CRE
has gone from fun reading with Cocky to the layered aspects of
literacy that include health, nutrition, family and financial literacies.
Cocky will be there, too! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-777-7118.
By Joshua Joiner, SJMC Graduate Student
Though he may no longer work directly in the mass communications
field, J-school alum Frank Ponce is still finding ways to use his
education and background in communications while pursuing a career
as a film producer.
Ponce, a 2009 graduate who majored in journalism and minored in
media arts, plans to call on his background and education quite
often in the coming months as he uses a $100,000 grant from the
South Carolina Film Commission in leading the production of the
short film Theo.
“It’s a bit different route than most film producers
may take, but I wouldn’t trade my mass comm background for
anything,” said Ponce, a native of Ruby, S.C., who was recently
announced as the recipient of the SCFC’s annual grant that’s
aimed at attracting more film production to the state. “Having
the background I do, I feel like I’ve used it often in film
making, and I’m really looking forward to using it in the
production of Theo.”
Inspired in part by South Carolina astronaut Ron McNair, who died
in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle crash, Theo will tell the
story of an 8-year-old boy whose astronaut father is tragically
killed in a space accident. The film is currently in the pre-production
stage with filming set to begin either late this year or early
The majority of the film’s production will be completed
in conjunction with the University of South Carolina’s theater
department. While the film will use a large amount of studio production
and visual effects, a large portion of the filming will take place
in South Carolina.
For Ponce, Theo is the first major undertaking since he decided
to take the plunge and move to Los Angeles last year to pursue
a film career. A former commercial producer at WTOC in Savannah,
Ga., Ponce hopes Theo will be a springboard for his career in Hollywood.
“I’m excited and a little nervous at the same time,” said
Ponce, who plans to showcase the film at a number of film festivals
before launching a campaign to promote the film online. “It’s
a great honor for any filmmaker to receive the grant from the South
Carolina Film Commission, and it’s a great opportunity for
me personally. Producing a film is a long process, but I’m
looking forward to seeing where this may take me.”