Each year, the Department of Communication presents the Illinois Tradition Awards to recognize outstanding students whose achievements embody excellence in scholarship, teaching, and service.
Earlier this month, both graduate and undergraduate students were honored in separate ceremonies. The department presented the undergraduate winners with their awards in a virtual ceremony to allow family and friends to attend remotely. In a separate in-person event, the faculty and staff gathered in the Illini Union, where faculty members presented the graduate winners with their awards.
Congratulations to this year’s Illinois Tradition Award winners!
2023 Undergraduate Award Winners
Wayland Maxfield Parrish Award: Lauren Ginocchi
This award honors the graduating senior who, at the end of the fall semester of the year in which the award is given, has the highest overall GPA among senior majors in the department's curriculum.
King Broadrick-Allen Award: Abigail Aderinto
The award honors the graduating senior who, at the end of the fall semester of the year in which the award is given, has the highest overall GPA among the department's senior majors who are designated as pre-law students.
Robert E. and Ellen L. Davis Scholarship: Kira Matheson
This scholarship recognizes outstanding academic achievement, particularly in the area of Rhetorical Studies by a RISING junior or senior. This needs to be a student with a greater-than-average slate of rhetoric courses in the major. The student should also have financial need.
Kenneth M. Burns Scholarship: Cecelia Espinosa and Zara Odafe
This award recognizes exceptional, continued service as a mentor to others and/or strong leadership skills on the part of one of our major's junior students. Students apply for this scholarship and the awards committee reviews nominations.
Bonita M. Whitlock Scholarship: Molly Fried
The Bonita M. Whitlock Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 1995. It recognizes an undergraduate (junior) student who has compiled an outstanding academic and service record in the department. Proceeds from the scholarship will be used to defray the recipient's academic expenses during their senior year.
Joseph Wenzel Award: Mia Ginocchi
This award was established in 2013 by friends of Professor Wenzel in honor of his contributions to learning beyond the classroom. This award supports undergraduates working outside the classroom with faculty, ideally in experiences that otherwise would not easily happen.
Building the Future for Communication Students Scholarship: Iyanla Smith
The Building the Future for Communication Students Scholarship was established by long-time faculty member Kenneth Andersen and his family to support students based on need and merit. Dr. Andersen started the fund hoping to attract others to contribute as well, saying "we need to do our share of giving to support the students who are coming after us.”
David C. Kleiman Scholarship: Zeina Ammar and Claire Macellaio
The David C. Kleiman Award is given to an outstanding rising junior or senior in the Department of Communication with financial need. This scholarship was made possible by Dr. Kleiman's remarkable generosity in supporting students.
James D. Miller Scholarship for Excellence in Undergraduate Internships: Lily Vance
Awards a $1,500 scholarship to a student or students from the previous academic year for their exemplary performance in an internship, for which they have earned academic credit through the Department of Communication’s Internship Program. The award may be split if more than one student is judged to be deserving.
2023 Graduate Award Winners
Ruth S. and Charles H. Bowman Award: Ana Lisa Eberline
This award is conferred upon the department's most outstanding graduate student, based on the student's total record of scholarship, teaching, and service. The award is funded by an endowment established in 1992 by members and friends of the Bowman family. To be eligible for consideration, students must have completed at least two semesters of graduate study in the department and be nominated by a member of the graduate faculty.
Karl R. Wallace Award: Ethan Morrow
This award recognizes distinguished scholarship by a graduate student. The award is given on the basis of the total record of a student's scholarly work in the department's graduate program, including both performance in graduate courses and scholarly work completed for publication and conference presentation. To be eligible for consideration for the Wallace Award, students must have completed at least two semesters of graduate study in the department and be nominated by a member of the department's graduate faculty.
Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award: Katherine Bunsold and Gabby Tscholl
The award recognizes the department's most outstanding veteran teaching assistant. The award is given on the basis of the total record of a student's teaching in the department. To be eligible for consideration, students must be pursuing graduate study in the department, have completed at least two semesters of teaching in the department, and be nominated by the person who supervises their teaching or by a member of the department's faculty.
Henry L. Mueller Award: Mrittika Rahman
The award recognizes the department's most outstanding new teaching assistant each year. To be eligible for consideration, students must be pursuing graduate study in the department, be in their first year of college teaching and of teaching in the department and be nominated by the person who supervises their teaching or by a member of the department's faculty.
Stafford H. Thomas Award: Sara Babu
The award recognizes exceptional service to the department by a graduate student rendered over the course of the student's graduate study. To be eligible for consideration, students must have completed at least two semesters of graduate study in the department and be nominated by a member of the department's faculty.
Jesse Delia Award: Wallace Golding
This award was established in 2006 and is given to the most outstanding article or book chapter written by a current graduate student (or graduate students) without faculty co-authors. The piece must be published or accepted for publication within the past year.
Ruth Anne Clark Award: Lindsay Kelpinski, Daniel Hartman, and MJ Salas
The award provides graduate students with support for research.
History of the Awards
In the Spring of 1984, the faculty of the Department of Communication voted to establish a program of annual awards for students. Conferred for the first time in 1985, these awards recognize distinguished achievement by undergraduate students and emphasize the department’s commitment to encouraging its students to seek excellence in scholarship, teaching, and service. In naming these awards, the faculty chose to honor persons who played especially important roles in building and perpetuating the tradition of leadership and excellence in teaching and research inherited by the present generation of students and faculty. Each award is named for a former member of the department’s faculty or staff, and the awards are known collectively as the Illinois Tradition Awards. The annual presentation of these awards recalls with gratitude and affection the contributions of our predecessors and expresses our commitment to building a future worthy of the foundation they laid.
The Illinois Tradition Awards are made possible by the generous contributions of alumni and friends of the department. To make a donation, visit communication.illinois.edu/giving.