UGA’s Grady College announces 2006 Alumni Award Winners

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has named its 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award winners.

J. Thomas Russell (ABJ ’63), Donald Perry (ABJ ’74), Bill Dean (ABJ ‘83) and Kyle Wingfield (ABJ ’01) will be honored at a special ceremony from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, May 4, at King & Spalding Law Firm, 1180 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 

J. Thomas Russell, dean emeritus of the Grady College, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. This is the first year that the award will be presented. Russell will be honored for demonstrated excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education. He spent over 30 years on the Grady College faculty serving as head of the college’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations, associate dean, then dean for 17 years.

Russell was instrumental in the development of the Grady College Ph.D. program, promoted excellence in faculty research and made it a priority to attract top scholars to the college. He is former editor of the Journal of Advertising and co-author of Kleppner’s Advertising Procedure, which was cited as one of 19 classic textbooks by The New York Times. The text has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

The vice president of public relations for Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. will receive the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Donald Perry joined Chick-fil-A in August, 1983 as public relations manager. After graduating from Grady College, he began his career with General Electric Company where he worked until 1983 in several locations and positions as part of the company’s in-house news bureau.

Throughout his career, the Valdosta native has been extremely active in service to the University of Georgia. Perry has served for many years on Grady College’s professional advisory board and on the Board of Trustees of the UGA’s Arch Foundation since 2004. Prior to that time, he was a trustee of the UGA Foundation. He is also a member of the editorial advisory board of UGA’s Georgia Magazine. Perry is a member of the Atlanta Press Club and Public Relations Society of America, PRSA, serving as president of the Georgia chapter in 1993. He was inducted into Georgia PRSA’s Order of the Phoenix and the Georgia PRSA Hall of Fame in 1999.

Newspaper reporter Bill Dean will receive the Henry W. Grady Award for Mid-Career Achievement. Dean is an award-winning, Pulitzer-prize nominated entertainment/music writer for The Ledger newspaper in Lakeland, Fla. He has won three New York Times Chairman’s Awards and more than 15 annual journalism awards for his critical writing, features, and column writing. Dean’s work has ranged from the investigative to a series of award-winning project stories on such figures as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Gram Parsons and the Carter Family. After graduating from Grady College, Dean began his career as a reporter with The Marietta Daily Journal in Marietta, Ga., and spent two years at the Greenville News-Piedmont in Greenville, S.C., where he worked as a business, police and entertainment writer before going to The Ledger in1990.

The 2006 John E. Drewry Award for Young Alumni Achievement will go to Kyle Wingfield, editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal, Europe. Based in Brussels, Belgium, the 27-year-old edits and occasionally writes the weekly “Business Europe” op-ed column and writes institutional editorials on issues ranging from international trade to European politics. The Dalton, Ga. native was hired by The Associated Press (AP) immediately upon graduation and spent three years with AP in Atlanta and Montgomery, Ala. He joined the Journal in October, 2004. While at UGA, he was a Foundation Fellow, editor of The Red & Black and member of the Blue Key and Sphinx honor societies. He was recognized by the Georgia legislature as UGA’s top undergraduate in 2000.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication provides seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, considered the electronic broadcasting industry’s most prestigious prize. For more information, visit www.grady.uga.edu.