Dean's Update: May 2024

Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 2:15pm

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The end of the year provides a great opportunity to welcome our incredible alumni back to campus. In the last month we welcomed back MRM Global Creative Director Ronald Ng (’93) and New York Times Reporter Dionne Searcey (’93) to talk about their experience in global advertising and journalism. We also celebrated the opening of Joel Sartore’s (‘86) ‘Photo Ark’ exhibit at Morrill Hall and Vern Powers’ (’84) honor with the Jeff Vaske Service in Entrepreneurship Award.

Advertising alums Olivia Poggenpohl (’10) and David Moore ('81) came for a visit, and Olivia stayed to talk about her journey to completing her degree. Finally, Pam Ungashick (‘80) stopped in for an interview with Campus Voices. You’ll learn more about her new book this summer!

Graduation is right around the corner, but we are already looking ahead to next fall. As of this morning, we have 203 incoming freshmen registered for new student enrollment. That’s our largest freshmen class ever, a 12% increase over last year and a whopping 43% increase over my first year as dean and the onset of the COVID pandemic. We are very excited to welcome these new students to campus, but we would not be where we are without the hard work of our college ambassadors who travel to high schools around the state leading workshops in classrooms. Check out this story on our partnership with Bay High. Want to help us keep recruiting top students? Give a gift to our Student Experience Fund to support our ambassador program!

We are well into awards season and have received several recent honors, including strong showings at the National Student Advertising Competition and Bateman Case Competition, 11 SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards, a People’s Voice Webby Award and our April faculty, staff and student of the month awards. Additional honors were awarded to Assistant Professor Brian Petrotta who was named an ESPN Research Fellow, journalism and advertising/public relations major Naomi Delkamiller who was inducted into Mortar Board, integrated media communications graduate student Austine Okorodudu and advertising/public relations major Jacob Vanderford who received Luminary Awards and journalism major Marissa Kraus who received the Nelson Dream Big Award to support her summer internship at the Los Angeles Times.

Finally, I am happy to share that the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications last week voted unanimously to approve our reaccreditation. As the only accredited journalism and mass communications program in Nebraska, we are committed to maintaining the high standards set by our accrediting body to ensure our students receive a quality education. Thank you to all the alumni who responded to feedback surveys, engaged in curriculum reviews and participated in interviews with our accreditation site team. I am one proud dean.

Go Big Red!


Shari Veil