U of M Journalism Alumni Club Will Honor Outstanding Alumni Oct. 16 University News
For release: September 16, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey


The University of Memphis Journalism Alumni Club will honor three individuals at its annual awards dinner Thursday, Oct. 16, at The Racquet Club of Memphis.  The club will present Paul Jewell and Walter Leavy with the Charles E. Thornton Outstanding Alumni Award.  Deanie Parker will receive the Herbert Lee Williams Award.

A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the dinner following at 7.  Tickets are $45 per person or $425 for a table of 10.  The deadline for reservations is Oct. 10.  For reservations or more information, call alumni coordinator Fariss Adams Ivey at 901-678-4373. 

Paul Jewell
Paul Jewell
Jewell is director of marketing for The Commercial Appeal.  He has worked for the newspaper since 1975, beginning his career as an editorial assistant in the newsroom and moving to the Marketing Department as a copywriter in 1980.  Jewell took the lead in establishing the newspaper’s specialty publications division in the mid-1980s as a venue for publishing sections and content outside the scope of daily news coverage. He also served as manager of the Creative Services Department before being promoted to marketing manager in 2006.

Jewell earned a B.A. degree in journalism from the U of M in 1978. He serves on the board of directors of the Memphis Literacy Council, the U of M’s Journalism Alumni Club and the University’s National Alumni Association. He has also served as an officer and member of the board of directors of the Memphis Advertising Federation.

Walter Leavy
Walter Leavy
Leavy received a B.A. degree in journalism from the University in 1975.  He is co-managing editor of Ebony magazine. He has been at Ebony since 1980, steadily advancing to his current position. When longtime executive editor Lerone Bennett Jr. retired in 2005, Leavy and fellow U of M alumna and Ebony staff member Lynn Norment were promoted to run the day-to-day operations of the magazine, which is affiliated with Jet magazine. He also writes a column for the publication, “For Brothers Only,” which he describes as “an avenue of expression for things that are uniquely male. It highlights the hopes and dreams of black men.”

Deanie Parker
Deanie Parker
Parker was president and CEO of Soulsville, which includes the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy and Performing Arts Center. She established the Soulsville Foundation to raise funds to operate the Museum and the Academy and retired as the Foundation’s president in 2007.

Early in her career Parker was director of publicity, artists, and community relations for Stax Records, working with such famed musicians as Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding, and the Staple Singers.  Before joining Soulsville, she was vice president of communications and marketing for the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.  Parker also served as assistant director of the Memphis in May International Festival from 1987-95 and returned as interim director for the 1996 Festival saluting Brazil.

Among the many honors she has received are the Women of Achievement Award for Initiative, the University of Memphis Distinguished Alumni Award, the Public Relations Society of America’s Memphis Communicator of the Year Award, and the Diversity Memphis Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Parker is a double graduate of the U of M, earning a bachelor of professional studies degree in 1977 and a master of public administration degree in 1988.

The Charles E. Thornton Award is named for a Memphis journalist who was killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in 1985. The Herbert L. Williams Award is named for the U of M Journalism Department’s founding chair.


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