An Academy-Award nominated filmmaker, an award-winning veteran journalist, a former corporate communications executive, and a nonprofit marketing communications professional were all recently honored by the West Virginia University Reed College of Media at its annual Alumni and Donor Recognition Ceremony. Originated by the College’s local alumni chapter, the outstanding alumni awards acknowledge exceptional professional achievements as well as commitment and service to the College of Media.
Dean Maryanne Reed welcomed alumni, donors and guests to the ceremony and reception, which was held at the Media Innovation Center on September 21.
The 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award winners included:
Bob Kittle (BSJ, 1975) received the P.I. Reed Achievement Award. Created in 1966, it is the most prestigious award bestowed upon alumni. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in journalism, advertising or public relations. Kittle is a nationally award-winning journalist with extensive experience in national, state and local media coverage. He served as the editorial page editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune for nearly two decades. As a much sought-after commentator, he provided regular political analysis on PBS’s “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” He also appeared frequently on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition,” along other network and cable television news programs. In San Diego, Kittle was a regular guest on KUSI-TV and KPBS radio and television and hosted his own weekly public affairs program on SignOn Radio. Before joining the San Diego Union, Bob was an associate editor of U.S. News & World Report in Washington, where he served as a correspondent covering the White House, Congress and the Pentagon.
Elaine McMillion Sheldon (BSJ, 2009) won the College’s Young Alumna Award, which recognizes an alumna (or alumnus) who has graduated within the past 10 years and has demonstrated tremendous professional promise. Sheldon is a documentary filmmaker whose film “Heroin(e)” was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and a 2018 News & Documentary Emmy. “Heroin(e)” is a Netflix Original Short Documentary that follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia. Her debut feature documentary, "Recovery Boys," documents the lives of four men working to transform their lives after years of addiction, is also a Netflix Original and premiered at the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival. Sheldon received a 2013 Peabody award, 2014 Emmy nomination and 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards for her interactive documentary “Hollow,” which explored post-industrial America. Sheldon was named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine and is a 2018 United States Artists Fellow.
Betsy Klebe Dziedzic (BSJ, 1979) was presented with the Friend of the College Award. This award was established in honor of Professor Emeritus Paul A. Atkins and recognizes individuals for their exemplary support and commitment to the Reed College of Media. Dziedzic is the former vice president of corporate communications at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., a Fortune 300 Industrial Gases and Chemical manufacturer. In her role as vice president, she had global responsibility for media relations, financial communications, crisis communications, employee and marketing communications; reputation management; public relations; brand management; visual communications and technology. Highly active in community service, Dziedzic served as the first vice-chairman of the board of directors of the State Theatre for the Performing Arts of Easton, chair of the Capital Campaign for WVU’s Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter and advisory board chair for Lafayette College’s Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter. She has been a member of the WVU Reed College of Media Visiting Committee since 2009 and is currently serving as chair. And she has been a generous donor to the College, establishing a career development enhancement fund for students interested in pursuing careers in corporate communications.Tara Curtis (BSJ, 1993 ; MA Corporate & Organizational Communication 2000) received the Commitment to Service Award which recognizes individuals who have shown great dedication and service to the College. The College established this award in honor of Dr. Ivan Pinnell, long-time College of Media faculty member and administrator who retired in May 2013 after more than two decades of service to the College. Curtis is currently the director of communications and marketing for WVU Extension, where she leads a communications and marketing team to showcase the work of WVU in all 55 West Virginia counties. She previously served as director of communications for the WVU School of Nursing and the WVU Alumni Association. An active member of the community, Curtis is a member of the Rosenbaum Family House Advisory Board and Women United. She teaches public relations courses in the College as an adjunct professor, helps students find internships and jobs, and mentors them on their class and extracurricular