C&IS Honors Day
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.
Bert Bank Distinguished Service and Achievement Award – Lee Perryman
Lee Perryman is the president and CEO of RadioAlabama, a unique multimedia entertainment and digital marketing solutions company focused on east-central Alabama. Perryman began a broadcasting career as a teenager in local radio and, after college, managed radio stations in Eufaula, Alabama.
In 1980, he joined The Associated Press as Broadcast Executive for Florida based in Tampa, Florida, relocating to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1983. Shortly after, Perryman assumed the role of Deputy Director of Administration for AP’s Broadcast division in Washington, D.C. From 1987 until his retirement from AP, he led international teams focused on development, marketing and support of innovative news technology products supporting more than 60,000 journalists.
Perryman graduated from The University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He presently serves on the College of Communication and Information Sciences Board of Visitors, the board of directors of the Alabama Broadcasters Association, the board of directors of the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation and the Sylacauga Planning Commission. In 2014, he was named Alabama’s Broadcaster of the Year and inducted into the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. He is also the current council president of the Sylacauga City Council.
Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award – Felicia Mason
Felicia Mason currently serves as the executive director of the Alabama Press Association (APA), a state trade association representing 120 newspapers in Alabama. She is the eleventh executive director and the first woman to hold this position in the APA’s 151-year history. Mason first came to the APA in 1987 as a sales and marketing representative. A few years later, she was promoted to advertising manager and later to associate executive director.
A native of Pine Hill, Alabama, Mason received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Alabama and her Master of Business Administration from Samford University. During her time at UA, Mason worked as both a sales representative and a retail sales manager for the Crimson White.
As a result of her outstanding dedication and service to the field of publications, Mason was awarded the Sarah Healy award by The University of Alabama Media Planning Board in 2003. She is also an active leader in communication organizations and currently serves on the College of Communication and Information Sciences Board of Visitors and the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council.
Outstanding Alumna, Advertising – Kristin Walker
Kristin Walker is an independent branding consultant with more than 18 years of experience in integrated corporate communications. As a consultant, she specializes in overall brand and media strategy primarily in the aerospace and defense, government, higher education, and event-based technology sectors.
Prior to working as a consultant, Walker began her career as a media planner at the prestigious McCann Worldgroup in New York City, New York. During her time at McCann, she worked with many high-profile media outlets including Glamour Magazine, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, ESPN Magazine and Men’s Health.
Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising and studio art from The University of Alabama and a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in international business and marketing from Northeastern University. Throughout the years, she has served as a guest lecturer and alumni panelist at The University of Alabama, in numerous volunteer roles as an Air Force spouse, and as a volunteer with groups such as Blue Star Families, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and within her local community
Outstanding Alumnus, Book Arts – John Cutrone
John Cutrone has served as the director of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts (JCBA) for the past decade. Cutrone was first tapped to work with the Arthur & Mata Jaffe Collection, a fledgling new artists’ books collection housed in a special suite at Florida Atlantic University’s Wimberly Library, in 2001. The collection and its programs have continued to grow over the years, and in 2007, a major expansion was built, which included a new Jaffe Book Arts Gallery, a printshop, and a bindery, at which point the Jaffe Collection was officially transformed into the Jaffe Center for Book Arts.
Aside from his work at JCBA, Cutrone is also a writer, and together with his husband Seth Thompson, has created Convivio Bookworks, a book arts studio specializing in limited edition letterpress printed books and broadsides. He is also the author of the Convivio Book of Days blog, which explores customs and traditions across cultures. Cutrone received his Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Alabama.
Outstanding Alumna, Communication Studies – Dr. Eletra Giilchrist-Petty
Dr. Eletra Gilchrist-Petty is a professor and Department Chair of Communication Arts at The University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). She is the first African American woman to be promoted to Full Professor at UAH, and only the second African American woman to serve as Department Chair in the history of UAH. Gilchrist-Petty is the winner of the 2018 UAH Distinguished Teaching Award, and she teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate-level communication courses.
Over the years, she has held several offices with the National Communication Association (NCA), including the Teaching and Learning Council, chair of the African American Communication and Culture Division (AACCD), Legislative Assembly, Nominating Committee, and Affirmative Action and Intercaucus Committee.
She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication studies from The University of Alabama and earned her Ph.D. in communication studies from The University of Memphis. Gilchrist-Petty is the author of three books and more than two dozen other publications in various communication journals.
Outstanding Alumna, Library and Information Studies – Sybil Bullock
Sybil Bullock is a successful retired librarian and a current University of Alabama faculty member. While pursuing her undergraduate education, she found a passion for working with special library collections and went on to work in a variety of prestigious libraries throughout her 40-year career.
Bullock has previously worked for technical and aeromedical libraries at Ft. Rucker and served as the director of the Redstone Scientific Information Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In each of these roles, she provided expertly curated information to scientists, engineers, psychologists, physicians and other audiences.
Following an early retirement, Bullock returned to The University of Alabama to continue her education and become an adjunct instructor and internship coordinator. She still holds these roles today and continues to invest in the next generation of special librarians. Bullock holds Education Specialist and master’s degrees from The University of Alabama.
Outstanding Alumnus, Public Relations – Brad Friedman
Brad Friedman serves as the president and CEO of City Paper Company, one of the oldest packaging and promotional marketing firms in the United States. The company, which was founded in 1897, is his family’s fourth generation business that originally specialized in creating industrial packaging and has since transitioned to offering retail packaging. After assuming the roles of president and CEO, the company has continued to expand under Friedman’s leadership and now offers promotional marketing materials, print and graphic design services. Today, the company boasts an impressive client list of companies such as Harley Davidson, Boeing, Carnival Cruise Lines, Hallmark and Cracker Barrel.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Friedman attended The University of Alabama and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. He was a member of the University’s tennis team during his time as a student and pursued his tennis career for a brief period of time after graduating serving as a head tennis professional at the Calabasas Country Club and Atlanta Country Club.
Outstanding Alumna, Creative Media – Leigh Rusevlyan
Leigh Rusevlyan is a Production Management Executive at Netflix based in Los Angeles, California. During her time at Netflix, Rusevlyan has worked on an array of productions in Original Studio Film including: The Midnight Sky, Project Power, Hillbilly Elegy, Thunder Force, Hubie Halloween and Home Team.
Prior to Netflix, Rusevlyan worked at Amblin Partners, Dick Clark Productions, Snapchat and as a freelancer in the entertainment industry.
Originally from Florence, Alabama, she graduated from The University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and film. As a student, Rusevlyan was one of the founding members of the Black Warrior Film Festival. She served as the festival director in its inaugural year and co-director the following year.
Outstanding Alumna, News Media – Lesley Bruinton
Lesley Bruinton is a nationally acclaimed education public relations practitioner with more than 20 years of professional experience in the communication industry. Bruinton currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Nichols Strategies, LLC, where she manages the day-today operations of the company to assist school districts in resolving communication challenges.
Upon completing her undergraduate education, Bruinton began her career in the broadcast industry as a broadcast journalist in Panama City, Florida, at WMBB-TV and later in Birmingham, Alabama, at WIAT-TV. After seven years in the profession, she became the Public Relations Coordinator, and eventually the Public Relations Director, for the Tuscaloosa City Schools, an urban school district serving more than 10,000 students.
She holds a bachelor’s in telecommunication and film from The University of Alabama and a master’s in strategic communication from Troy University. Bruinton also earned an Accreditation in Public Relations in 2013. Bruinton was named a 2020 AASA Women in School Leadership Award winner and is a three-time NSPRA Gold Medallion winner.