Awards recognize Bellisario College alumni, faculty member and industry leader

September 25, 2018

Three Penn State alumni, a faculty member and an award-winning Pennsylvania television leader earned the top annual awards from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Alumni Society Board.

The awards were presented Sept. 24 on the University Park campus. Those selected for the honors were:

  • Jeff Lowe, a 2013 journalism graduate, who earned the Emerging Professional Award;
  • Ron Regan, a 1975 journalism graduate, who earned the Outstanding Alumni Award;
  • Jeffrey Ballou, a 1990 journalism graduate, who earned the Alumni Achievement Award;
  • Fred Young, a retired senior vice president of Hearst Television who was named as recipient of the Douglas A. Anderson Communications Contributor Award; and
  • Tara Wyckoff, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Advertising/Public Relations who earned the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Emerging Professional, Jeff Lowe

Lowe is a media entrepreneur who co-founded the popular movie podcast and website “Lights, Camera, Action,” which is affiliated with Barstool Sports. He previously led overall strategy and content production for all social media entities for ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

As a Penn State student, he was a student manager at CommRadio, where he created and developed an annual on-site live NFL Draft show and produced play-by-play content and talk shows focused on several Penn State sports. He also completed internships with, Dial Global Sports and KVUE-TV in Austin, Texas. He also spent two summers working with Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media Productions.

Outstanding Alumni, Ron Regan

Regan is the chief investigative reporter for WESW-TV and its “5 On Your Side Investigations,” the largest team of its kind in the Cleveland market. Regan’s work has earned the George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence as well as a National Headliner Award, four Edward R. Murrow regional awards and 24 regional Emmy Awards.

His investigations have freed an innocent man from prison, changed state laws making it easier to donate pharmaceuticals to nursing homes, and required public disclosure of inspection reports of service providers for the disabled on a state web portal. A Regan-led investigation that gained national prominence was eventually turned into an Emmy Award-winning HBO movie about a suburban mother intent on hiring a hit man to murder her daughter’s cheerleading rival.

Alumni Achievement, Jeffrey Ballou

Ballou is a 30-year journalism veteran who currently serves as news editor for the Americas with Al Jazeera Media Network’s English language channel in Washington, D.C. He was a member of the staff that launched that network in 2006. In 2017, he made history as the first international broadcaster and the first African-American male elected president of the 111-year-old National Press Club.

Ballou previously worked as an editor at WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., and as a White House producer for Hubbard Broadcasting’s CONUS Communications. Other successful career stops have included CSPN, WTOP-AM, NPR and WCVB-TV. As a Penn State student, he was active in Black Caucus, Undergraduate Student Government, The Daily Collegian and WPSU.

Anderson Communications Contributor, Fred Young

Young spent 25 years in television in Pennsylvania -- in positions such as vice president, general manager and news director -- before moving to New York City in a corporate role with Hearst Television. In that role, he oversaw news operations of TV stations in 26 different states. During his tenure, he earned the Paul White Award from The Radio-Television News Directors Association, the group’s highest honor. He was one of only two of the award’s 53 recipients to have been focused exclusively on local TV news.

Young retired from Hearst Television in 2008, concluding a distinguished 46-year career. The company later formally named its journalism fellowship in his honor.

His connection with Penn State goes beyond being the father of two alumni and the grandfather of a current student. Under his direction, Hearst worked closely with the Bellisario College and supported “Success in the City,” the annual internship and career fair in New York City.

Excellence in Teaching, Tara Wyckoff

Wyckoff has been teaching in the Bellisario College since 2010, consistently earning praise from students and the respect of her colleagues. She launched a “Take Your Professor to Work Day” effort, visiting five former students who are recent graduates working in New York City. She also served as faculty lead for two National Community Conferences, where students from around the country attend networking sessions with executives from companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boeing, Microsoft, NBCUniversal and Starbucks.

She earned the Deans’ Excellence Award for Teaching in 2017 and serves as the adviser for the Ad/PR Club. She has also developed an embedded course for spring 2019, when Bellisario College students will study in Belize.


Last Updated June 14, 2021