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Department Welcomes Six Alumni to Hall of Fame

By Megan Grasty

Faculty and students chat over a delicious banquet dinner at Hall of Fame event

Red and white cloth, autumn leaves and berries decorated the tables as students, faculty and alumni crowded into Colusa Hall for a celebration of excellence.

The 2011 Department of Journalism and Public Relations Hall of Fame event Sunday, Nov. 6, honored six inductees, as well as student scholarship winners.
Dr. Katie Milo served as the keynote speaker to about 70 guests.

"Every year, students walk away from this event feeling newly encouraged and inspired and excited about the possibilities for their future careers," said Maggie Payne, interim dean in the College of Communication and Education, in her
welcome address.

One purpose of the event is to honor exceptional alumni in their career accomplishments. This year, Kristi Barnes, Wayne Miyamoto and
Elizabeth Roberts were inducted into the News Hall of Fame. Bill Cox,
Susan Larson and Denise Styerwalt were inducted into the Public Relations
Hall of Fame.

"I feel really honored to receive it, because I truly owe all my success and how I got my start in my career to this program," said Denise Styerwalt, Adobe Systems Inc. senior public relations manager. "If I hadn't had the hands-on classes like Tehama Group Communications and the experience with my internship that I had with the
San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, I would have never gotten my first job."

Inductees pose with Dr. Katie Milo. Left to right: Susan Larson, Dr Katie Milo, and Denise Styerwalt

Inductees highlighted the success and effectiveness of Chico State's journalism program and the prestige of its student-run newspaper, The Orion and student-managed PR agency, Tehama Group Communications.

"There were some really important things that I've learned and carried with me for the past 35 years," said Wayne Miyamoto, cyber-security adviser for Cisco Systems Inc. in his acceptance speech via Cisco WebEx. "Among other things, I look back and The Orion was my
first start-up."

In addition to honoring alumni, scholarships were awarded to students from news, public relations and Dave Waddell's diversity recruitment program.

"This scholarship means a lot because I understand the importance of communities," said Bianca Hernandez, recipient of the Mark and June McMahon Community Journalism Scholarship. "It kind of guided me because it's my last semester and it was a reminder that I'll be having a career at some point, and I'll start in a community."

Faculty members also invited students from their classes to attend the event in order for them to learn and be inspired by the inductees.

"In addition to honoring our alumni's achievements, another purpose of the Hall of Fame is to connect those alumni with our students,"
said Debra Johnson, professional-in-residence and Tehama Group Communications adviser. "As Maggie Payne, our interim dean,
already highlighted, these interactions can often motivate our students toward excellence in their chosen field."

An inside look into the process of organizing the 2011 Hall of Fame

A few of the alumni inducted stayed in Chico until Monday to speak to students about their careers and how they got to where they are today, and gave advice on what companies and agencies are looking for in potential job candidates.

The event, organized by Tehama Group Communications, was a success. With
renewed inspiration from this year's Hall of Fame inductees, promoting and
achieving excellence will remain a standard within the Department of Journalism
and Public Relations.

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations Hall of Fame began in 2005, bringing alumni back to their alma mater to honor their achievements in the
fields of public relations and news. The event has now inducted 42 alumni into the
Hall of Fame and has served to educate and inspire current students toward their future career goals.

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