Dean's Update: September 2023

Friday, September 22, 2023 - 10:00am

Dear Alumni and Friends,

A star-studded panel of CoJMC alums shared the stage to celebrate Nebraska journalism and raise money for Flatwater Free Press earlier this month. The panel, moderated by Flatwater Free Press Editor Matthew Hansen (‘03), featured CNN Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny (‘96), New York Times Reporter Dionne Searcey (‘93) and CEO of the Online News Association LaSharah Bunting (‘00) who talked about their Nebraska roots and the future of journalism. Current CoJMC student Evelyn Mejia also took the stage to share her experience as a Rural Journalism Fellow with Flatwater.

I’m delighted to announce that Adrian Whitsett (’08) has been named our 2023 Multicultural Homecoming Distinguished Alum! Adrian is an Emmy and Morrow award-winning anchor and reporter. He’ll be joining us on campus for all the Homecoming Festivities. I hope you will join us for the CoJMC Homecoming Party on Oct. 27!

Thanks to a generous gift from the Stanton Foundation, the University of Nebraska College of Law is establishing a First Amendment Clinic to focus on local and regional cases concerning freedoms of speech, the press, assembly and petition. More information about the clinic and how to request an initial consultation is available here. Check out the story by Professor Emeritus John Bender on the landmark First Amendment case, Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart.

Speaking of incredible gifts, Randy Essex ('83) is featured in this month's Burnett Society Newsletter Randy's story demonstrates the impact a donor can have on future generations. Gifts of time and talent also impact the student experience. Before returning to Detroit, Randy served as a professional-in-residence (PIR) in the Experience Lab. Get to know this semester's talented PIRs here.

You may have seen we packed 92,003 fans into Memorial Stadium for Volleyball Day in Nebraska. Our students and alums were behind the scenes and on the sidelines for all the excitement. Superstar alums like Paula Lavigne (news editorial, ’98) and Allie Snow (broadcasting, ’20) broke into the field of sports before we launched what is now our fastest growing major, sports media and communication. Check out the stories on their award-winning work!

Our faculty are also getting recognition. Assistant Professor of Practice Jill Martin received the Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award, Lawrence and Ruth Pike Professor and Associate Dean for Research Cory Armstrong was named a Mellon Fellow and selected for the Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Program, Professor Matt Waite’s class on AI was featured in Nebraska Quarterly, Associate Professor Bryan Wang’s research on CBD vaping was covered in Pocket Science and Assistant Professor Ciera Kirkpatrick was the first guest on Nebraska Extension’s new podcast, "The Good Life in Early Life."

I even got a little attention this month for joining Bailey Lauerman’s Board of Directors and sharing what I do in my downtime. They even made a video!

If you’re in NYC on Oct. 16, we’d love to have you join us for a reception with our students who will be in the Big Apple touring news organizations and agencies. RSVP here. Not in New York? Volunteer to write Postcards of Pride or join us for the Nebraska Career Catalyst!

Go Big Red!


Shari Veil