Virginia Pro Chapter hosted our annual George Mason Award Ceremony and Celebration with a crowd of about 50 at the 2300 Club in Richmond Wednesday, June 22.
The George Mason Award
Craig T. Merritt, 2011 recipient of the George Mason Award, accepted the award from President Nicole McMullin and incoming President Paul Fletcher, after an introduction by his nominator, Virginia Press Association Executive Director Ginger Stanley. Joking on an e-mail blast describing him as “a Freedom of Information warrior,” he said it is vitally important to know when to fight. Merritt spoke about the legacy of George Mason, a founding father strongly linked to freedom of the press.
A partner at the law firm of Christian & Barton in Richmond, he has represented the interests of news outlets and journalists many times. Merritt has selflessly assisted, defended and educated the news media of Virginia. He helped journalists in their pursuit of the freedom of information, and he has assisted in the fight against unwarranted intrusion into newsrooms by law enforcement.
SPJ, SDX Educational Foundation Scholarships
Also during the ceremony, SPJ honored two up-and-coming student journalists with the Virginia SPJ, SDX Educational Foundation Scholarships. Arielle Retting of Fairfax, a Journalism/Political Science major at Radford, and Katherine “Katie” Mawyer of Sandston, a Communications, Professional Writing and Popular Culture major at Virginia Tech, were selected from a dozen applicants from schools across Virginia. Both were on-hand to accept the award from Clissa England and Wilford Kale.
Distinguished Service Award renamed
President Nicole McMullin had the pleasure to announce an honor to two outstanding chapter members. The George and Francine Crutchfield Distinguished Service Award honors George, who passed away this spring, and Francine, who shared many memories with the crowd. Fittingly, the Crutchfields were the most recent recipient of the award, in 2010.
2011-2012 Board of Directors
As Virginia Pro SPJ’s main annual meeting, during the evening our officers and members of the Board of Directors were sworn in. These folks will guide our chapter as we build on a successful series of programs, including hosting the Region 2 Spring Conference.
Serving as president will be Paul Fletcher; vice president, Danny Finnegan; continuing as secretary, Pat Kane; and joining the board as treasurer, Brian Eckert. Nicole McMullin is immediate past president.
Filling uncompleted board terms expiring in 2012 are Caroline Cardwell and A.J. Lagoe; for a term expiring in 2012 is Nicole Livas; for terms expiring in 2013 are Elizabeth Farina, Guy Lucas and Cara Ellen Modisett; for terms expiring in 2014 are Bonnie Newman Davis, Wayne Farrar and Joan Tupponce.
SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter wishes to thank several members who assisted as program patrons.
Steve Richardson Jr.
See photos online at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10150305044400865