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5 inducted into Marshall journalism hall of fame

The Herald-Dispatch

Staff Report

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.  – Alumni, faculty, friends and family gathered Sept. 29 at Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center to celebrate the career accomplishments of five inductees to the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism & Mass Communications Hall of Fame.

Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduates Sean Callebs, from left, Susan Lavenski, Dave Wellman, Chris Stadelman and John Hackworth are inducted into Marshall University’s Hall of Fame on Friday, September 29, 2017, in Huntington.
Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch

Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert welcomed the crowd of about 180 guests as they sat to dine at tables decorated in the university’s colors, kelly green and white. Bill Bissett, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, introduced inductees Sean Callebs, John Hackworth, Susan Lavenski, Chris Stadelman and Dave Wellman before they made their remarks.

“The five alumni being honored each have left their own unique marks on mass communications,” said Chris Dickerson, president of the SOJMC Alumni Advisory Board, which handled the nomination process. “All of them are proud alumni of Marshall University, and they all are the types of alums the school and the university should be proud to call our own. They all are quite deserving of this honor.”

“Taking time to reflect on the successes of our graduates is a highlight of the year,” said Janet Dooley, associate dean of the College of Arts and Media and SOJMC director. “It’s rewarding to note how many have achieved national prominence and to recognize those who have achieved distinction in this region. They have made worthy contributions to the field of journalism and mass communications, and we are indeed fortunate to count this year’s induction class among our alums.”

Stadelman, a 1992 SOJMC graduate, is owner of Stadelman Consulting, a research and public affairs company. Before that, he served as chief of staff for former West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and previously was his communications director. Stadelman also was publisher of the Standard newspapers, editor and publisher of The Parsons Advocate and managing editor of the Charleston Daily Mail. Stadelman also served as a WVPA board member and staff member during his career.

Lavenski, a 1992 SOJMC graduate who earned a master’s degree from the school in 1994, is CEO and co-owner of Charles Ryan Associates, one of the largest communications firms in the region. In her two decades with the company, Lavenski has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies and local public figures. Her work has garnered results and numerous awards.

Wellman, a 1975 SOJMC graduate, has been Marshall University’s Director of Communications since 2001. He started that job after a 25-year career as a writer and editor at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. In addition to numerous awards and honors during his time at The H-D, Wellman also co-authored some books about Marshall University’s football program.

Callebs, a 1983 SOJMC graduate, has traveled the world doing documentaries and working as a CNN correspondent and anchor. An Emmy winner, he also served as a U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan in 2011. Callebs’ current position is at CGTN America.

Hackworth, a 1971 SOJMC graduate, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for editorial writing. Working for the Sun newspapers in Charlotte County, Florida, he won the Pulitzer for a series of editorials about the beating death of an inmate at Charlotte Correctional Institution. Hackworth previously worked at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and at The Ashland Daily Independent in Kentucky.

For more information or questions about the SOJMC Hall of Fame, please contact the school at [email protected].

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