The FIU School of Communication + Journalism (SCJ)– under the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts– inducted its first cohort into the inaugural class of the SCJ Hall of Fame. These exceptional individuals were nominated and selected because of their noteworthy accomplishments and advancement within the fields of communication, journalism, and media.
“Our students come to us, not to study journalism, public relations or advertising,” said Brian Schriner, dean of the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. “They come here to become journalists, and practitioners of public relations and advertising.”
The class SCJ Alumni Hall of Fame honorees included:
- Dianne Festa, class of ’84 and Senior Vice President of NBC News
- Gabriel Gabor, class of ’88 and Senior International Communications Consultant for Major League Soccer/Soccer United Marketing
- Marybel Rodriguez, class of ’00 and Co-Anchor for WFOR
- Janet Rivera-Hernandez, class of ’02 and Vice President of Communications at MasterCard
- Mariana Alvarado, class of ’06 and Professor for the Universided of Guadalajara/Teaching Fellow for Google News Lab
- Rosanna Fiske, class of ’06 and Senior Vice President and Corporate Communications leader of Wells Fargo – Florida and Southeast Regions.
An uplifting event, the evening included kind words from those that nominated the inductees or know them well. One surprise for those in attendance was the video narrated by Lester Holt, in which he introduced Dianne Festa to relay just a few of her many accomplishments. In addition, each of the inductees shared messages that imparted sentiments of gratitude, and also encouraged and empowered future generations of communications practitioners.
“I can’t think of a better place to have studied for my master’s degree than FIU. It has opened a lot of opportunities. Now I work hard to replicate many of the things that I learned here,” said Mariana Alvarado, advisor and professor in the Center for Education in Digital Journalism in Guadalajara. “My advice to students and colleagues, is to never stop learning and working hard to follow your passion.”
In addition, Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, FIU’s CARTA Dean Emeritus and Executive Director of the Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication was awarded the 2019 SCJ Impact award. Dr. Moses Shumow, Associate Professor in Journalism + Media and Lynne Farber, Associate Professor in Advertising and Public Relations received the Distinguished Faculty Award for their work and dedication to students. Jacquelyn Hurtado and Jocelyn Hurtado, received the Outstanding Student Award for their exceptional work in the fields of communication, journalism, and media in the classroom.
The event took place at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus and was kicked off with a VIP reception in the Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator. Guests were encouraged to take tours of the SCJ Media Hub conducted by FIU students. The awards ceremony followed in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theater where family and friends spoke on behalf of the awardees as awards were presented.