Honors Day is a time-honored tradition on The University of Alabama campus and within the College of Communication and Information Sciences. As the academic year comes to an end, we recognize the accomplishments of our most outstanding students and alumni. Selected both within their academic units and college wide, the individuals honored today have contributed excellence to the College and are distinctive representatives for our field.

Honors Day


The University of Alabama’s College of Communication & Information Sciences cordially invites you to Honors Day.

April 5, 2024 | 10 A.M.
Reese Phifer Hall | Room 216

Reception Preceding Ceremony
9:00 A.M. | Reese Phifer Hall Rotunda

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Bert Bank Distinguished Service and Achievement Award

Kathy Geiger-Schwab

Geiger-Schwab is a retired senior executive with over 30 years of experience in the local search industry. She has held several positions during a corporate career with AT&T and various subsidiaries, including Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer and VP of Marketing and Business Development.

Geiger-Schwab was awarded the Distinguished Advertising Alumnae award in 2001 and is a member of the Mu Kappa Tau Society at The University of Dayton. In 2024, she created the Kathy Geiger-Schwab Organizational Leadership Graduate Student Scholarship to support distance-learning graduate students in C&IS.

Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award

Manuel Torres

Manuel Torres

Torres is a senior editor at The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system.

Before joining The Marshall Project, he was a member of the reporting team that received the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He has worked on investigative teams that won a Peabody Award, an Investigative Reporting and Editors’ Award and two national Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Outstanding Alum, Advertising

Eduardo Henriques

Henriques stands at the forefront of digital innovation as the co-founder of ponder.ly, revolutionizing customer profiling with AI and data enrichment. With 18 years of diversified experience, he’s a digital strategy, marketing and research virtuoso, enhancing brand presence for notable clients like the Aruba Tourism Authority and Apple.

Henriques’ role in shaping global campaigns for giants like Citibank, Gmail and NASCAR underscores his industry leadership. His academic and professional certifications complement his extensive career, highlighting a commitment to excellence that extends to community engagement and thought leadership in the marketing sphere.

Outstanding Alum, Book Arts

Katherine M. Ruffin

Ruffin is the director of the Book Studies program at Wellesley College, where she merges her passion for book arts with education, teaching everything from letterpress to bookbinding. With degrees from Bryn Mawr, The University of Alabama (UA) and Simmons University, Ruffin’s academic journey is as rich as her teaching, extending to Simmons University and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

Her research delves into the bibliographical press movement and the transformative role of books in the liberal arts, reflected in her work both as an educator and creator of limited edition prints under the imprint of Shinola Press.

Outstanding Alum, Communication Studies

Tonya Adams Nelson

Nelson has made significant strides in marketing and communications since her time at UA. Her journey from UA Forensic Council president to national championship coach for A+PR’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team shows her commitment to excellence. With a career spanning roles from Marketing Coordinator at UAB’s OADI to leading marketing efforts for major corporations and teaching at UA, Tonya’s influence extends throughout academia and the industry.

Nelson credits her success in the marketing-communication and translational communication to what she learned as a student of Communication Studies.

Outstanding Alum, Library & Information Studies

Reba J. Williams

Williams, a trailblazing Manager of the Titusville Public Library in Alabama, leverages her deep roots and understanding of the South to champion social justice and bridge the information gap. With a Master’s from UA, she innovates beyond traditional library roles, transforming Titusville into a beacon of empowerment, earning her numerous accolades including the JCLC Librarian of the Year.

Her work is a testament to the power of libraries as catalysts for community change and inclusivity.

Outstanding Alum, Public Relations

Jennifer Kitt-West

West is a seasoned communications expert with over 15 years of diverse experience, currently shaping strategy at HP Inc., and a committed community supporter who founded the Kitt-West scholarship to mentor and financially assist public relations students.

Her career spans from press coordination for the Georgia State Senate to inclusion and sustainability roles at Dow Inc., underpinned by a strong educational foundation from UA and Boston University.

Outstanding Alum, Creative Media

J. Alison Bryant, PhD

Bryant leads as Chief Research, Education, Data and Impact Officer at Sesame Workshop, championing global initiatives on educational media’s power.

Her illustrious career spans from transforming AARP’s Research Center to founding PlayScience, with impactful roles at Nickelodeon and as an academic, underscoring her expertise in media, technology and education’s influence on society.

Outstanding Alum, News Media

Joseph D. Bryant

Bryant, an investigative reporter for AL.com, has significantly impacted Alabama’s legislative reforms through his scrutiny of government spending.

As the first Black editor of The Crimson White and a former Birmingham News writer, Bryant’s journalistic journey began with a high school workshop, demonstrating a longstanding commitment to uncovering the truth.

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1974John Forney
1975Charlie Zeanah
1976Bill Gray
1977Rhea Schuessler
1978Leeda Marting
1979Cruse Braswell
1980Steve Bradley
1981Frank Lee
1982Bill O’Connor
1983Winston Leavell
1984Al Kitchen
1985Tom Somerville
1986Rob DeVaney
1987Marsha Lefkovits
1988Jim Andrews
1989Andre’ Taylor
1990Camille Elebash
1991Bob Cohn
1992Jeff Upshaw
1993Tom Johnson
1994Tom Roberts
1995James R. Williams
1996William M. Joyner
1997William Patrick Dinan
1998Lori Hollaway Daily
1999Debra Shriver
2000Mike Ragsdale
2001Kathy Geiger-Schwab
2003Charles Allen
2004Angela Bailey Henderson
2005Bruce Reid, Sr.
2006Mary Story
2007Norma Hanson (Adv. & PR)
2008Gary Creek (Adv. & PR)
2009Scott France (Adv. & PR)
2010Marilyn E. Mancini
2011Rebecca Lynn Mann
2012William M. Harvill, Jr.
2013Michael Carl Cannova
2014Michelle Elrod
2015Kathy Nontasak
2016Katie Long
2017Kathleen Motheral
2018Cameron Watson
2019Curtis E. Galusha
2020Amy Rask
2021Shelly Hiatt-Saboorian
2022Kristin McRee Walker
2023Joel Braswell
Public Relations
1992Teresa Miller Mangelesdorf
1993George Elliott
1994Craig Woodward
1995Griffin Lassister
1996Deborah Lane
1997Leigh Carroll Hurt
1998Mack D. Secord
1999Dean Trevelino
2000Jo Bonner
2001S. Alan Harper
2002Mark Gottfried
2003Rick Looser
2004Nicholas Latimer
2005Bobbie J. Knight
2006Stephen Sewell
2010William Alan Dennis
2011Tonjanita L. Johnson
2012Ellen East
2013Mark D. Harris
2014Christy Burnum
2015Lindsay Garrison
2016Daniel O’Donnell
2017Christine Graham Hayes
2018Breeanna Straessle
2019Bob Pierce
2020Kristina Hendrix
2021Katie McMinn Campbell
2022Brad Friedman
2023Holly Lollar
Communication Studies
1983Jack Drake
1984Charlotte Springford
1985Ruth Anne Clark
1986Judy Stone Weaver
1987Annette Shelby
1988John D. Saxon
1989Janet Hall O’Neil
1990Joanna Maclay
1992LaVone & Ty Warren
1993Fournier J. Gale, III
1995Redding Pitt
1996Norma Cook
1997Joan C. Ragsdale

Stephen Windom

1999Oscar Newton, Jr. & Mitchell Lattof, Sr.
2000Delores Boyd
2001Frank Thompson
2002Amanda Borden
2003Joyce Sellers
2004Joseph W. Perkins, Jr.
2005David J. Thompson
2006Ken Smith
2007Joseph Gow
2008Willie Mays Jones
2009L. Brooks Hill
2010Mark D. Nelson
2011Christina Louise Moss
2012Alyce M. Hartley
2013Wanda Coppala Sitzer
2014R. Pierre Rodgers
2015Daniel Mangis
2016Stuart Sockwell
2017Tracy V. Banks
2018Angela Gillespie
2019Lee Mayfield
2020W. Lance Covan
2021Carlisle Campbell
2022Eletra Gilchrist-Petty
2023Catie Malone
Journalism & Creative Media
1960Will Mickle
1961Sam Harvey
1962Joe Holloway
1963Dozier Cade
1964Fred Smith
1965Hazel Brannon Smith
1966Gay Talese
1967Brandt Ayers
1968Jim Jacobson
1969Cody Hall
1970Clint Milstead
1971Elmo Ellis
1972Jim Hall
1973Bill Stewart
1974Bob Bryan
1975Anita Smith
1976Bob Morisette
1977Wayne Whitt
1978Tom & Regina Wright
1979Taylor Hardin
1980Bob Burke
1981Orson Spivey
1982William Bobo, Jr.
1983Barrett Shelton, Jr.
1984Donald Coe
1985Ann Wood Waldron
1986Alf Van Hoose
1987Joe Adams
1988Dolph Tillotson
1989Michael Wright
1990Mark Mayfield & Charles Porter
1991Mark Childress
1992Ron Casey
1993William B. Keller
1994Bob V. Lott
1995Edward Mullins
1996Bob Ward
1997Douglas Pearson
1998Deborah E. Heard
1999Jan Crawford Greenburg
2000Ed Darling
2001Terri Troncale
2002Phil Rawls
2003David Mattingly
2004Cathi Downing
2005Manuel Torres
2006Randy Henderson
2007Robert Blalock
2008Christi Parsons
2009Michele Gerlach
2010Bernell E. Tripp
2011King Edsel “Ed” Williams
2012Marie Parsons
2013Lydia Seabol Avant

Michelle Leplanka Carter

Dusty Compton

Wayne Grayson

Jason Morton

Brian Reynolds

Aaron Suttles

Robert Sutton

Stephanie Taylor
2014Steve Stewart
2015Kristen Chick
2016John Archibald
2017Robin DeMonia
2018Jeffrey Clayton Collins
2019Sharon Maze Tinsley
2020Joshua Spurlin (Creative Media)

Debra Nelson (News Meida)
2021Daniel Barnes (Creative Media)

Dr. Tonjanita Johnson (News Media)
2022Leigh Rusevlyan (Creative Media)

Lesley Bruinton (News Media)
2023Delbert Reed (News Media)

Jonathan Killian (Creative Media)
Telecommunication & Film
1965Geoff Smith
1966Paul Raymon
1967Jim Stewart
1968Jim Murphy
1969Bob Inman
1974Keith Barze
1975Julius Talton
1976Clyde Price
1977John Cochran
1978Everett Holle
1979Crawford Rice
1980Jack Black
1981Sandy Grossman
1982Joe Langston
1983Harry Mabry
1984Knox Hagood
1985Eric & Edith Johnson
1986Chet Simmons
1987Sandy & Martha Wheeler
1988Jerdan Bullard
1989Leroy Paul
1990Keith Williams
1991Andrea Kirby
1992Skip Hinton
1993Tom Cherones
1994Jon A. Petrovich
1996Jerry Ray
1997William O. “Bill” Bolen
1998Despina Vodantis
1999Bert Bank
2000Debbie Elliott
2001Rece Davis
2002David DuBose
2003Steven Shipowitz
2004Walton E. Williams, Jr.
2005Alan Burns
2006A.D. Oppenheim
2007Matt Scalici, Jr.
2008Greg R. Stroud
2009Jonathan Katz
2010Cynthia Kay Jones
2011Teddy Katz
2012Lynn Brooks
2013Donna Burns
2014Jeffery Weaver
2015Nancy Strait
2016Christopher Sign
2017David Baird
School of Library & Information Studies
2000Lee Van Orsdel

William C. Yonger
2001Nancy W. Clemmons
2002Pat Ensor
2005Sonja McAbee
2006Patricia S. Henderson
2007Vicki L. Gregory
2008Jerry W. Stephens
2009Lee E. Pike
2011Cherie Feenker
2012Kate Ragsdale
2013Allen C. Benson
2014P. Toby Graham
2017Irene S. (Renee) Blalock

Timothy Alan Lewis
2019Inge Bruggeman
2020Angela Fisher Hall
2021James L. Baggett

Cathleen A. Baker, Ph.D. (Book Arts)
2022Sybil Bullock

John Cutrone (Book Arts)
2023Joshua Burford

Paul Moxon (Book Arts)