SOURCE: Society of Professional Journalists

September 12, 2007 17:14 ET

SPJ Honors Rick Brunson With David L Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award

INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwire - September 12, 2007) - The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Rick Brunson of the University of Central Florida with the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award.

Brunson is a full time journalism instructor and a part-time copy editor at the Orlando Sentinel. In 2004 after three years on inactive status, Brunson worked with University of Central Florida journalism students to revive the chapter. Three years later under Brunson's direction, the student chapter has hosted internship fairs with more than 30 participating news organizations in the state and he's led professional development workshops that prepare students for professional experiences.

"From the beginning, Rick has guided the chapter as a whole and each individual member to levels of energy and excellence no one could ever have imagined," wrote Brunson's colleague Rick Kenney in his nomination letter. "He gets his reward out of knowing he's helping young, aspiring journalists -- many of them the future of SPJ and no doubt even the future leadership of SPJ -- realize their potential and possibilities."

Brunson's guidance has made a lasting impression on current students. "While always respecting our status as a student-run organization, he's given us the gentle but inspiring pushes we've needed to maintain the chapter through our biggest struggles and to expand beyond our wildest dreams," wrote Melissa Patterson, University of Central Florida SPJ president in her nomination letter. "Without Rick Brunson, there would be no SPJ at UCF."

For the 2007 academic year, Brunson received the Student Adviser of the Year Award from the University of Central Florida Knights of the Round Table, an advisory council that honors outstanding members from the university's registered organizations.

"Rick Brunson does nothing halfway," wrote Catie Fry, University of Central Florida SPJ vice president in her nomination letter. "He takes his real-world knowledge and experience in the newsroom back to the classroom on a daily basis to provide students with a dose of reality and insight into the constant changes in the field of journalism."

Brunson will be recognized Friday, Oct. 5 during a luncheon at the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave., NW.

The David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award honors individuals who have done an outstanding job serving as an SPJ campus adviser and who have contributed to their chapters and to the national organization over an extended period of time. Only one award may be given annually unless the committee agrees that no candidates are available for that year. Candidates are nominated by their chapter and applications are reviewed by the vice president for campus chapter affairs before the national honoree is selected. In 1993, the SPJ board of directors voted to change the award name to the David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award in order to honor Eshelman, a longtime member of the Society and Board "Parliamentarian," who was killed in 1993.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.

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