USAO Bags 10 State Public Relations Awards
CHICKASHA -- The public relations people at USAO hope to demonstrate by their own work that " Raising the Standard" is more than a marketing slogan at the University of Science and Arts. This week, members of the Media and Community Relations staff earned a record 10 awards in a statewide competition.
College public relations specialists across the state went toe-to-toe in 30 different categories during the annual Oklahoma College Public Relations Association (OCPRA) convention, competing for awards in categories from photography to news writing, videography and graphic design.
" Our media and PR people have excelled in a competition that puts large and small institutions, as well as advertising agencies, on a level playing field," said USAO President John Feaver. " Our consistent wins over the past decade, especially this year, reflect a commitment to excellence by our team. They bring the USAO story -- of student, faculty and alumni achievement -- to life in all kinds of media."
Nearly 50 college and university public relations offices across Oklahoma entered 450 projects in 30 categories for the awards contest. Many universities submitted projects completed by outside advertising agencies. Last year, USAO's marketing team brought home seven awards, bringing the total number of OCPRA awards for the university to 43 in recent years.
USAO emerged with an unprecedented 10 awards.
Zac Underwood, sports information director, won four awards at the conference. His photo, " Champions of Character," won first place in digitally enhanced sports photography and his 2007-08 basketball media guide took second place for sports publication. Underwood also won third place in web design for his Drovers Sports website and honorable mention for his Drover basketball media guide cover design.
Additionally, Underwood recently won the Best Cover award for the same media guide in a national publication competition held by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Sports Information Directors Association. He won third place in feature story writing by the same organization.
Michael Bendure, head of the USAO news bureau, received two OCPRA photography awards: second place for digitally enhanced photography and third place traditional photography. His " USAO Directory" cover won second place in cover design.
Jenny Bendure, printing services manager, won her first OCPRA award with her " Pops Concert" poster, which took second place in spot color poster design.
Media and Community Relations Director Randy Talley and the USAO Centennial Committee won second place in logo design for the restoration of the historic Minerva figure and college seal. The committee recently transformed the university's image of the Roman goddess of wisdom, who has appeared in university publications for 80 years, for a new generation of students and alumni.
Talley also earned an honorable mention award alongside Dr. Brenda Brown, professor of English and chair of the division of arts and humanities, and Dan Hobbs, director of the USAO Legacy Project, for their collaboration on the Oklahoma College for Women historic exhibit, " Preparing the New Woman."
The new Oklahoma Centennial history exhibit honoring 10 great women and their alma mater was unveiled last fall at the new Oklahoma History Center north of the Capitol through Statehood Day, Nov. 16 and is now available to tour Oklahoma museums and libraries.
" I am uber proud of our people," said Talley. " Adding to the long tradition of winning teams at USAO is a new list of 10 awards by our PR team. This year, we captured awards in design and photography at the state level -- the most we've ever brought home before."
According to its website, OCPRA was founded in 1969 by longtime Oklahoma journalist Carter Bradley, the first director of the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma and Ralph Hamilton, former director of public relations at Oklahoma State University. Its membership today includes communication professionals from nearly 50 schools in Oklahoma, both public and private.
The organization " provides meaningful networking opportunities and honors the creative imagination of its members and member institutions in their marketing and public relations efforts." Since the 1980s, OCPRA has sponsored an annual summer conference designed to further this mission.
In 1992, OCPRA launched its annual awards competition and show, recognizing the top entries in writing, design, photography and video by Oklahoma colleges and universities. This year's conference was held at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa.
OCPRA's website is www.ocpra.org.