An award-winning veteran journalist, a former advertising and PR executive, a data-driven B2B marketer and a policy reporting rising star were all recently honored by the West Virginia University Reed College of Media at its annual Alumni and Donor Recognition Ceremony. Originated by the College’s local alumni chapter, the outstanding alumni awards acknowledge exceptional professional achievements as well as commitment and service to the College of Media.
Dean Diana Martinelli welcomed alumni, donors and guests to the ceremony and reception, which was held at the Media Innovation Center on October 10.
The 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award winners included:
Ken Ward, Jr. (BSJ, 1990) received the P.I. Reed Achievement Award. Created in 1966, it is the most prestigious award bestowed upon alumni. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in journalism, advertising or public relations. Ward is an award-winning journalist with a passion for covering topics that impact West Virginians. He is currently a reporter for The Charleston Gazette-Mail. Last year, he was named a MacArthur Fellow for his nearly three decades of journalism "revealing the human and environmental toll of natural resource extraction in West Virginia and spurring greater accountability among public and private stakeholders." A native of Mineral County, West Virginia, Ward has received numerous awards for his coverage of the impacts of heavy industry – coal, chemicals, natural gas, logging – on the state’s environment, workers and communities. He is a three-time winner of the Scripps Howard Foundation's Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting. Ward has spent the last two years on long-term investigative reporting projects in collaboration with the ProPublica, as part of the nonprofit newsroom’s commitment to enhancing the ability of local journalism outlets to perform accountability journalism.
Mackenzie Mays (BSJ, 2012) won the College’s Young Alumna Award, which recognizes an alumna (or alumnus) who has graduated within the past 10 years and has demonstrated tremendous professional promise. Mays is currently a policy reporter for Politico. Her watchdog reporting for the Fresno Bee garnered fierce push back from politicians and made national headlines, throwing her into the spotlight. Despite the backlash, Mackenzie kept doing her job and holding authorities accountable. She has been recognized for her reporting with a National Press Club John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award and a McClatchy President's Award. Previously, Mays was an education reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail in her hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.
Alexis Pugh (BSJ, 1973) was presented with the Friend of the College Award. This award was established in honor of Professor Emeritus Paul A. Atkins and recognizes individuals for their exemplary support and commitment to the Reed College of Media. Pugh is a retired advertising and public relations executive having spent more than 40 years working with agencies in Atlanta, Washington and Orlando. She is extremely active in her community, serving on a number of boards, including the West Virginia University Foundation Board. She is also currently a member of the board of directors of The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Harbor House of Central Florida (domestic violence shelter) and Bok Tower Gardens (National Historical Site). Pugh is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation Board, as well as a founding member of the University of Florida’s UF Women initiative. She is currently working with the WVU Foundation to implement Women of WVU and serves on the steering committee.
Cyndi Greenglass (M.S. IMC, 2014) received the Commitment to Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have shown great dedication and service to the College. The College established this award in honor of Dr. Ivan Pinnell, long-time College of Media faculty member and administrator who retired in May 2013 after more than two decades of service to the College. Greenglass is a founding partner and the senior vice president strategic solutions at Diamond Communication Solutions, a data-driven communications firm specializing in healthcare, financial services and direct response solutions. She has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine, and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She previously spent 10 years in the international business consulting arena with the U.S. Embassy, the Canadian Consulate General, and the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. Greenglass serves as an adjunct faculty member for our Data Marketing Communications master’s program and has been integral to the program’s success.