Spring Update from Chair, Dr. Sara Stone

May 5, 2014
Sara Stone

Spring always marks a transition time as we celebrate commencement and welcome our newest class of alumni. However, this semester marks another transition for our department as one of our long-time professors, Dr. Doug Ferdon, is retiring after more than 30 years of service that includes leading our department as chair from 1996-2006. One of our students wrote a nice article that looks back on his career and the impact he has had on students and our faculty. I hope you have a chance to read it.

I continue to be amazed at the accomplishments and distinguished careers of our alumni. We were pleased to hear in January that Jess Cagle, BA ’87, was named the new editor of People magazine; David McCollum BA ’72, was selected to receive the Arkansas Activities Association’s 2014 Distinguished Media Service Award; Terri Hurley Barnes, BA ’85, just published a new book “Spouse Calls: Messages From a Military Life," which is an inside look at military life during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and Amber Bradley Adamson, BA'04 and MA '13, just published "The Last Alarm: First Responders’ Stories of the West Explosion." I hope that you will drop us a note from time to time and let us know how you are doing.

Our faculty members continue to represent us well on a national level. Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez was selected to participate in the 2014 Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy at Louisiana State University in June. Moody-Ramirez has assumed leadership responsibilities in our department as the graduate studies director and director of American Studies. Our faculty members continue to publish research in leading academic journals including Public Relations Review, the Journal of Communication Management and Journalism & Mass Communication Educator. Read more about our department’s academic research.

I also want to bring attention to the recent successes of our students. One of our public relations students, Parmida Schahhosseini, just had an article published in the national PRSSA publication Forum . Junior PR student Laura Beth Moore was recently hired for an internship with GolinHarris in Dallas this summer, and she will be representing our university at the PRSSA Leadership Rally in Arizona this summer.

As we look forward to the start of a new school year, we are grateful for our alumni support that allowed us to provide almost $193,000 in scholarships to 114 students, which were announced at our 2014 Annual Award Ceremony ( Our department is stronger due to the support of our alumni, who serve as mentors, guest speakers, and portfolio reviewers and who support our scholarships and hire our graduates. Please know you are appreciated!
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