Society for Collegiate Journalists Recognizes Bethany College as National Chapter of the Year

The Bethany College Chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) received the prestigious Edward E. McDonald Award as the organization’s National Chapter of the Year at the annual Awards Dinner/Ceremony on Friday night.

scjrelease.jpgThe award was presented by Dr. Mary Beth Earnheardt, SCJ national executive director, to Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, and Dr. Mort Gamble, Executive Assistant to the President, co-advisors to the Bethany Chapter, and M.E. Yancosek Gamble, Chair of the Department of Business, Communications and Media Arts, and conference organizer.  The award presentation was web streamed live on the Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN).

“We are most honored to receive this award,” Dr. Miller said on behalf of the Bethany SCJ chapter, the Department and the College. “Seven years ago, we had a vision for expanding and enriching our communications program in the age of digital technologies and multimedia platforms. Under M.E. Yancosek Gamble’s leadership, and with the support of faculty and many distinguished communications and journalism alumni from Bethany, we have established a world-class, multi-track program.”

According to Dr. Earnheardt, the Award is named for Edward E. McDonald, who spent 15 years of his retirement working tirelessly as national secretary-treasurer of Pi Delta Epsilon; the organization merged with Alpha Phi Gamma in 1975 to become SCJ. This award, in his memory, is given to a longstanding chapter that upholds the highest ideals of college student journalism. Bethany’s chapter dates to 1947 and is one of over 150 nationwide.

The traditions of the Society for Collegiate Journalists are imbued with the spirit and legacy of Pi Delta Epsilon and Alpha Phi Gamma. The dominant tradition of the Society, the oldest national honorary collegiate journalism organization, is service. It is through service that SCJ has become one of the major organizations on many campuses throughout the United States.

Dr. Miller and Dr. Gamble have a longstanding relationship with SCJ dating back to the 1970s when Dr. Miller was a communications student and Dr. Gamble the faculty advisor of the chapter at West Virginia Wesleyan College. In addition to Bethany, Dr. Miller has served as advisor to SCJ chapters at Rio Grande College and Lincoln Memorial University. 

The SCJ National Chapter of the Year award joins other recent honors to the Bethany College Department of Communications and Media Arts. In 2012 the Bethany College chapter of Public Relations Society of America, West Virginia chapter, won for Chapter of the Year. In 2013 the College’s Department of Social Work presented the Communications and Media Arts Department with the outstanding service- recognition award for volunteering over 1000 hours.

The national award culminates seven years of growth in the Department since Dr. Miller assumed office as President of Bethany College in December of 2007.  He established the Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) and appointed Yancosek Gamble, then West Virginia statewide Director of Small Business Development, to chair the Department and expand its technological capability.

Today BBN provides live web streaming of all significant campus events and many athletic events through a state-of-the-art mobile unit. Other Department communication venues include WVBC, the Internet-based radio station performing a record number of remotes, and live shows in 2012, and again in 2013, and The Tower  Multimedia, the digital edition of the campus newspaper, enjoying over 1,100 views a week on its Internet and social-media coverage of campus events.

Managing these media during their undergraduate experience, Bethany communications students have earned top internships and career starts with major media and communications organizations in New York, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, and other cities. 

The program has grown from 64 students in the fall of 2010 to over 100 students.  Recent graduates have secured positions at NBC Sports, Booz Allen Hamilton, International Relief & Development, Rue 21 Corporate headquarters, McKinley Development Corporation, Astra Zeneca, and many other national firms.

The award presentation culminated a week of prominent journalism-related activities on campus, including the 53rd annual Bethany Communications Week and the Department’s hosting of the SCJ National Convention at the Mountainside Conference Center.  The Friday Awards Dinner/Ceremony followed a world-class panel discussion by Bethany communications alumni in the fields of journalism, communications and media.

Prominent alumni of the Bethany Communications and Media Arts program led discussion at Communications Week and the SCJ conference this week:

  • Dave Egan ’79 – Chief Marketing Officer, Reed Smith
  • Diane Lewis Blaschak '78 - Director, Marketing & Communications, HM Insurance Group
  • George Manahan '83 - CEO, The Manahan Group
  • Jim Rice '81 - Content Coach/Sports, Greenville News
  • Jeffrey Seglin '78 - Lecturer in Public Policy and Director of the Communication Program
    Shorenstein Center at Harvard
  • Kurt Franck '78 – Executive editor, Toledo Blade
  • Peter Jensen '81 - Editorial Writer, Baltimore Sun
  • Sandy Block '81- Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the oldest degree granting institution in the State, Bethany’s Department of Communications and Media Arts has had a storied reputation of producing graduates of national and international significance.  The Department’s Wall of Fame in Bethany House includes 28 of acclaimed graduates, including Manahan, Rice, Seglin, Franck, Jensen, Block and current national sportscaster Dave Sims (TV voice of the Seattle Mariners, NFL commentator, and co-host of Basketball and Beyond with Coach K on Sirius XM Radio), and Bob Orr, Justice and Homeland Security correspondent for CBS News, to name a few.