Sydney Hulebak, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter
Provost Kathy Richardson has been awarded the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The recipient of this highly selective award is chosen by a panel of faculty at Grady. The first UGA Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award was offered in 2006. Richardson is the fifth recipient.
“We are excited to have her as an alumnus,” Diane Murray, director of alumni relations and outreach at the University of Georgia, said. “It is great when we can highlight the achievements of someone in both mass communication and education.”
| Caroline Lee, Staff Photojournalist
Provost Kathy Richardson
Richardson has been at Berry since 1986. She arrived on staff shortly before Berry started its communication program and played an integral role in the establishment of the communication major and the public relations concentration in particular. Currently, she serves as provost. However, even with her growing responsibilities in Hermann Hall, she has not stopped teaching. Over the years, Richardson has taught courses in media law, media ethics, journalism and public relations in the communication department.
“I hope this serves as encouragement to others that you can do worthy scholarship at a small college,” Richardson said of her award. “Not only that, but I get the added benefit of teaching wonderful undergraduate students. Engaging with students in the classroom is often the bright spot in my day.”
Richardson also laid the groundwork for the first Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Berry. By building a captivating curriculum and congregating a critical mass of students, she created a student organization that has been a big success for the communication program.
Bob Frank, chair of the communication department, described Richardson as a “breath of fresh air” in both Laughlin and Hermann Hall.
“She has an uncommon perseverance,” Frank said. “Even though she is provost, she is still a very active member in the communication department. Her leadership is very inclusive and highly respected by faculty members across all departments.”
Faculty and staff are not the only ones who have noticed Richardson’s hard work and presence on Berry’s campus.
“Dr. Richardson has a way of making students really care about learning,” senior communication major Mary Claire Stewart said. “She encourages those who take her classes to not only memorize information, but to really engage with the material that she is so clearly passionate about. I have a great admiration and respect for her as a professor.”
Dean of students Debbie Heida agreed.
“I am just glad that others are starting to recognize what we have known for a very long time,” Heida said.