Communications alumni board honors four with awards

September 18, 2008

Three College of Communications graduates and one faculty member have been honored with awards from the college's Alumni Society Board.

The honorees are: Mark Livolsi, who earned the Outstanding Alumni Award; Chris Wightman, who earned the Alumni Achievement Award; Erin Hazard, who earned the Emerging Professional Award; and Ann Kuskowski, who earned the Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes demonstrated excellence in communications by distinguishing an alumnus or alumna who has contributed significantly to his or her profession and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues and students within his or her community. Livolsi's productive and varied career provides a testament to such succes.

A 1980 Penn State graduate with a degree in film, Livolsi works as a film editor for iTalent. His movie credits include: "Fred Claus" (2007), starring Vince Vaughn; "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006), starring Meryl Streep; "Wedding Crashers" (2005), starring Vaughn; "Vanilla Sky" (2001), starring Tom Cruise; and "Almost Famous" (2000), with Kate Hudson. He is currently working as film editor for "Marley and Me," based on the best-selling novel of the same name. The movie, starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, will be released in December.

The Alumni Achievement Award honors an alumnus, alumna or friend of the college whose significant contributions to the college and/or the University, in terms of time and talent, have brought distinction to themselves, the college and the University. A consistent supporter of the college, Wightman has regularly given of his talent, time and treasure to support programs and students at Penn State.

He works as the managing director of communications for the U.S. Golf Association and boasts a background that includes broadcast, digital media, marketing, media relations and publishing experience. Before joining the USGA, Wightman spent five years as publisher of Golf Magazine. In that role, he worked with Fortune 500 brands and directed a 40-person advertising sales and marketing staff. Before that, he worked with Golf Digest, MTV and MONY Financial Services. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, he began his career as a sports writer with newspapers in Pennsylvania. He earned his degree in journalism from Penn State in 1985.

The Emerging Professional Award honors an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the past 10 years for professional achievements and/or distinguished community service.

Hazard works as a senior vice president for Fleishman-Hillard, one of the world's leading public relations firms. During her nearly 10 years with the company, she has orchestrated a variety of successful consumer, corporate and public outreach campaigns for major brands and federal government agencies, including AARP, the Library of Congress and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. She first worked with Fleishman-Hillard during an internship as a Penn State undergraduate. She earned a degree in advertising/public relations from Penn State in 1999.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a faculty member in the college who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, contributed significantly to the growth of students' learning and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues, students and alumni. Those honored are judged on their ability to inspire students and improve the classroom environment, their breadth and depth of knowledge of their subject and their dedication outside the classroom.

Kuskowski, a senior lecturer who teaches broadcast journalism and telecommunications classes, began teaching at the University Park campus in 2001. She serves as faculty adviser to "The Final Cut," a student-produced magazine show, and Women in Cable & Telecommunications. She also serves as a member of the board of directors for "LaVie," the Penn State student yearbook. Before coming to Penn State, she worked in higher education and TV news, teaching at Lock Haven University and Youngstown State University, and working for NBC affiliates in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio.

The College of Communications Alumni Society Board is a 27-member group of alumni dedicated to connecting the college, through awards, events and programs, to its students and faculty.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009