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UW Staff Members Honored for Communications Excellence


January 17, 2012 — University of Wyoming communications specialists received 18 awards during the Wyoming Press Association's (WPA) annual associates' group communications contest.

Winners were announced at the WPA's annual winter meeting last weekend at the UW Conference Center -- marking the first time the state's newspaper group has held its major convention in Laramie. The convention attracts Wyoming's newspaper professionals and also the WPA's associate members for two days of workshops, seminars and speakers.

Approximately 200 WPA and associate members attended the convention, which culminated with Saturday night's awards banquet where the top newspapers in three divisions (daily, Casper Star-Tribune, and large, Jackson Hole News & Guide, and small weekly, Newcastle Letter Journal) were named. Individual award winners also were announced in several categories.

UW staff members won six first place awards in the associates' contest, six second places, three thirds and three honorable mentions.

"Such recognition reflects the high level of skills, talent and experience the university has come to expect from our UW public relations professionals," says Don Richards, UW director of Governmental and Community Affairs. "It is noteworthy that WPA recognized the breadth and depth of this year's UW staff achievements right here in Laramie."

UW Institutional Communications specialists nearly swept the news writing category, winning nine of 10 awards. Following is a summary of UW's WPA awards and staff winners.

Institutional Communications Specialist Milton Ontiveroz earned three first places for "UW Synergy Program Prepares Students to Succeed" in the single release category; "UW Residence Hall Improvements Target Student Needs" in the single feature category; and "UW MFA Program in Creative Writing Gains National Prominence" in the three features on one topic category.

Ontiveroz also teamed up with co-worker Jim Kearns to place first in the three releases dealing with the same topic for their series on "Mikhail Gorbachev Comes to UW."

Institutional Marketing Director Montica Willmschen and Publications Supervisor Brandon Gellis were awarded first place in the publications category for UWYO Magazine. The publication is a primary source of information about UW and the people behind the institution.

UW Student Media writer Laura Westpetal won first place in magazine articles for her piece, "Sita's Story," in the June 2011 edition of Frontiers magazine.

Kearns picked up two second place awards for "UW Professors: Accused Anthrax Killer Couldn't Have Done it" in the single release competition, and in the single release category for "UW Raising the Status for Graduate Education."

Bernadette van der Vliet, UW Extension graphic designer, received second place in page layout and design for the agriculture publication "Impacts 2010."

Extension public relations Coordinator Steven Miller and Tana Stith, Extension technology and communications manager, were the publications runner-up for "Ag News." Miller also won second place in magazine writing for his Ag News article on retiring professor Larry Held.

Dillon Bennett from UW Student Media placed second for "College Big 6 Pass" in the advertising-internally developed category.

Third place awards went to Kearns for "Jane Austen's Popularity Soars at UW" and to Ontiveroz for "UW Professor Finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award" in the single release competition; and, in the magazine article category, to UWYO managing editor Steve Kiggins for "A Well of Opportunity" in the spring 2011 edition of the magazine.

Ontiveroz also received honorable mention for "UW Libraries Continue Reach for Excellence" in the single release category.

Miller and Stith produced "Backyards and Barnyards" that received honorable mention status in publications.

Bennett also received an honorable mention for "The Pen is Mightier" in the advertising-internally developed category.

Six UW Department of Communication and Journalism faculty members -- department chairman Ken Smith; Professor George Gladney; Kristen Landerville and Cindy Price, both associate professors; Professor Conrad Smith; and Lecturer Eric Wiltse -- presented workshops during the WPA convention, and Institutional Communications staff members helped organize workshops and a campus bus tour for associate members.

UW President Tom Buchanan gave welcoming remarks during Friday night's dinner.

Photo:
UWYO Magazine was a first-place winner during the recent Wyoming Press Association's associate's group communications contest.

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