School of Communications recognizes outstanding students, faculty

The school hosted its annual awards ceremony on April 21 to recognize high achievement from students and faculty during the past academic year.

Elon University’s School of Communications recognized the achievements of both students and faculty during the past year at the school’s annual awards ceremony on April 21.

“This is one of the most enjoyable hours in the life of the School of Communications,” said Communications Dean Paul Parsons at the ceremony held in Studio B of the McEwen Communications Building. “We have a lot to celebrate in our school.”

Photos from the ceremony are available on the school’s Flickr page.


Twenty outstanding students were selected from among more than 1,200 communications majors to be honored for their exceptional contributions in and out of the classroom. Those honored meet the highest academic standards, have been active in on-campus media and student organizations, and have achieved great success in challenging internships.

Pictured (from left) are seniors Michael Bodley, Ciara’ Dixon, Kayla Hammer, Meredith Stutz, Amory Parks and Kat Buckingham. 
Outstanding Senior Awards

These six awards recognize outstanding personal and professional achievements by graduating seniors who have demonstrated through consistent performance extraordinary knowledge and ability in their areas of specialization, and have made significant contributions to the School of Communications and the major.

MEREDITH STUTZ, Journalism (Broadcast) Award. Presented by Glenn Scott
MICHAEL BODLEY, Journalism (Print & Online) Award. Presented by Colin Donohue
CIARA’ DIXON, Strategic Communications Award. Presented by Hal Vincent
AMORY PARKS, Cinema Award. Presented by Nicole Triche
KAYLA HAMMER, Television Arts Award. Presented by Max Negin
KAT BUCKINGHAM, Communication Design Award. Presented by Ben Hannam

Student Scholarships

Staley Albright and Grace Lillian Cook Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in journalism. Presented by Rich Landesberg.

D’Angelo Family Scholarship in Honor of Bill Leonard

Established by Drs. Lawrence and Dolores D’Angelo P’02, the D’Angelo Family Scholarship in honor of Bill Leonard recognizes the achievements of an outstanding rising senior in the field of broadcast communication. The late Bill Leonard, former president of CBS News, was influential in the creation of “60 Minutes,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and a host of other landmark news programs. Presented by Rich Landesberg.

Dubois Legacy Scholarship

This endowed scholarship recognizes a junior or senior who demonstrates a consistent commitment to academic study, and shows great promise through participation in informational study and internships. The scholarship honors Courtney Dubois Needham ’95, and her family, Charles and Keith Dubois, for the many contributions they have made to Elon, and to the field of communications. Presented by Lee Bush and Lucinda Austin.

Anthony & Olga Duke Communications Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in communications who has a strong academic record. Presented by Nagatha Tonkins.

Pictured (from left, front) are Janat Bashir, Meghan Windle, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Danielle Deavens, Maya Eaglin, Elizabeth Bilka, (back) Christopher Edwards, Alex Simon, Courtney Campbell, Tommy Hamzik, Bryan Anderson, Riley Billman and Ashley Bohle. Contia Prince is not pictured.
The A.J. Fletcher Award

This award honors an outstanding student majoring in strategic or broadcast communications who demonstrates a wide-ranging interest in the field, service to the community and leadership in campus or his/her personal life. Presented by Vanessa Bravo and David Copeland.

James Michael Elzar Foreman Scholarship

This scholarship, awarded to a promising minority student in television production, is named in memory of James Michael Elzar Foreman, a student in the School of Communications who died in 2007. The scholarship is to be used for an Elon Experience. Presented by Gerald Gibson.

Brad Hamm International Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior enrolled in the School of Communications who is either an international student or has demonstrated strong international interest. Presented by Qian Xu.

James F. Hurley Legacy Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a junior, either a communications or journalism major, who has demonstrated excellence in the field. This endowed scholarship is named in memory of James F. Hurley Sr., and James F. Hurley Jr., and in honor of James F. Hurley III, all of whom served as publishers of The Salisbury Post. Presented by Janna Anderson.

William F. Neff Experiences Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student within the School of Communications to complete one of the Elon Experiences. Presented by Colin Donohue.

Priestley Scholarship

This scholarship assists a female student who is a rising sophomore, junior or senior majoring in print journalism and who is preparing for a career as a writer for public circulation newspapers and magazines. The scholarship was established by the late Dr. Mary Ellen Priestley, a former professor of English and journalism at Elon and adviser to The Pendulum, and her husband, Gerard. Presented by Michael Skube.

Times-News Scholarship

This scholarship provides financial aid for a student studying journalism in the School of Communications who has demonstrated leadership, scholarship, service to the community, and exemplary character traits. Presented by Anthony Hatcher.

James Wesley Willard II Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is named in memory of James Wesley Willard II, a student in the School of Communications who died in 2005. It is awarded to a student in the School of Communications who has a strong academic record. Presented by Vic Costello.

The Sport & Event Management Scholarship and Outstanding Major in Sport and Event Management honors will be presented at the Sport & Event Management Department’s banquet.

Pictured (from left) are School of Communications professors Hal Vincent, Qian Xu and Dan Haygood.

Following the student awards, three faculty members in the School of Communications were recognized for their outstanding work this academic year.

Parsons presented Associate Professor Dan Haygood, Assistant Professor Qian Xu and Lecturer Hal Vincent with faculty awards.

Faculty Excellence in Teaching

The award recognizes a faculty member who is excellent in the classroom, current in the discipline and committed to student learning at a high level. The recipient will be a teacher who embraces fresh ways to engage students in active learning, who is known as a good academic adviser, and who displays a willingness to teach when and where needed.

From the dean’s introduction: Dan Haygood is an exceptional teacher, drawing on more than a dozen years of professional advertising experience with agencies in New York City and Tokyo. Haygood teaches at every level, from “Communications in a Global Age” to advertising and sports information courses, and from the “Great Ideas” capstone where many of his students have had their undergraduate research published in the “Elon Journal,” to the digital brand communications course in the Interactive Media master’s program. Across the board, students praise his engaged teaching style, energy and accessibility. He regularly brings professionals to campus to interact with classes. He also was instrumental in making the Elon in New York program a success by teaching in the summer program for four years.

“Dan is one of our best teachers. He treats students as professionals. He motivates them to get excited about learning, to reach beyond themselves, and to produce exceptional work,” said Jessica Gisclair, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communications.

Faculty Excellence in Scholarship Award

The award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly work has a significant intellectual impact. The recipient will be an individual whose publications and presentations are of the highest quality, helping advance the school’s reputation. Likewise, the recipient will excel in mentoring students in undergraduate research.

From the dean’s introduction: The scholarly accomplishments of Qian Xu contribute important knowledge to the communications discipline while elevating Elon’s teacher-scholar model. Xu’s primary focus is the social and psychological effects of media technology, and the result has been two book chapters and 11 peer-reviewed journal articles. She has published in the Journal of Communication, ranked No. 1 of the 76 journals in the discipline, and Communication Research, ranked in the top 10 percent, along other leading publications. Xu also has presented her research with the International Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and other important venues.

Professor David Copeland, director of the Interactive Media master’s program, described Xu as “an exemplary example of the type of faculty member we have come to expect at Elon – a powerful teacher with an outstanding research agenda and a love and desire to serve the university’s greater good.”

Faculty Excellence in Leadership Award

The award recognizes faculty members who richly contribute to the ongoing welfare and betterment of the school, the university and the professions. The recipient will be an individual who displays leadership on the campus and national levels, as well as an ability to bring new ideas to reality that reflect well on Elon and the School of Communications.

From the dean’s introduction: Hal Vincent provides leadership in the school in a variety of ways, beginning with the student agency Live Oak Communications. As faculty director, Vincent has partnered with the professional content marketing agency Pace Communications to create Project Echo. Pace benefits from a millennial perspective on behalf of clients, and School of Communications students benefit from working alongside agency professionals. In 2015, Live Oak won its first-ever Gold ADDY award from the Triangle Advertising Federation for its work in digital advertising and social media. Vincent also showed leadership in nominating two students selected this year for the American Advertising Federation’s multicultural students program. In addition, he led the Communications Fellows Winter Term experience in Florida in January, became an Entrepreneurship Fellow at Elon, and co-advised the Communications Living-Learning Community in Sloan Hall.

“Hal, thanks for all you do to make this a better school for our students,” Parsons said.