The School of Communications has selected Jo Craven McGinty, projects editor at The New York Times, and Doug Finberg, executive vice president of marketing for MGM Studios in Los Angeles, as the inaugural recipients of the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Each plans to return to campus in April to interact with students and be honored by the faculty.
McGinty, ’85, has been on two Pulitzer Prize teams – first with The Washington Post team that received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize Gold Award for Public Service and then on The New York Times writing team that received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.
Finberg, ’94, was Elon’s 2008 Commencement speaker when he was senior vice president for international marketing at Paramount Pictures. He also has been an executive vice president at Marvel Studios and owner of Finberg Worldwide.
Dean Paul Parsons extended the honors to McGinty and Finberg following a faculty committee recommendation that they be the first recipients of the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award. For years, Elon has presented university alumni awards, and now each school/college will begin honoring distinguished alumni.
“Our school has terrific alumni who spread the name of Elon all over the world and who help current students secure internships and begin careers,” Parsons said. “We so appreciate our alumni, and we want to start recognizing those who are doing great things.”
McGinty said she was honored when she learned she would receive the inaugural award.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “After having been around for awhile, you have a chance to look back and a chance to appreciate the decisions that changed your life. It made me think about what a critical and good decision it was to choose Elon because (it) turned out to be just the perfect place for me to develop my life and career.”
Finberg, too, has an affinity for Elon. He was invited to deliver the university’s Commencement address in 2008, where he shared his appreciation for the school and implored students to use their educational advantage appropriately.
“Elon has prepared you to think critically, to find appropriate answers,” Finberg said during his Commencement address. “Now the obligation is yours to use the resources at your fingertips to advance your endeavors. It’s one thing to have a keyboard or touch screen—but it’s another to use it constructively to better your life.”
Communications Associate Dean Kenn Gaither said the Distinguished Alumni Award is just one way the school is taking a more active role in making sure alumni remain connected to Elon, especially as the university changes. For example, McGinty graduated when journalism was a major in the English department, and Finberg graduated from the Department of Journalism and Communications. In 2000, the university transformed the department into the School of Communications.