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School of Journalism to honor alumni at gala banquet

March 27, 1998

A correspondent for ABC’s “Nightline,” the deputy managing editor of The New York Times and one of Wisconsin’s most recognized sports reporters will be honored by UW–Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication April 17.

The 1998 honorees for distinguished service are:

  • Chris Bury (M.A. 1977), who joined the “Nightline” staff in 1992 after covering the Clinton presidential campaign for ABC’s “World News Tonight.” His “Nightline” coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber case each have won Emmy Awards. He joined ABC in 1982 after working for WTMJ in Milwaukee and at stations in St. Louis and Houston.
  • John M. Geddes (M.A. 1976), last September named deputy managing editor of The New York Times. In his 22-year career, Geddes has served as The Wall Street Journal’s managing editor in Europe and national news editor. Before joining The New York Times in 1994, he left the newspaper business briefly to become chief executive officer at BIS Strategic Decisions, a market-research company.
  • Bud Lea (B.S. 1952), who enjoyed a 42-year tenure as a sports reporter/editor/ columnist for the Milwaukee Sentinel until he retired in 1995. Lea was the Sentinel’s first beat reporter assigned to the Green Bay Packers, and continues to write for the Journal Sentinel’s “Packer Plus” magazine.

    Also receiving awards will be a science documentary producer and an emeritus professor who has made a significant contribution to journalism education.

  • John Keefe (B.S. 1989) has been science editor for “Discovery Channel Online.” As co-creator of the science radio program “Kinetic City Super Crew,” he won a George Foster Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. Keefe began his career in print at the Wisconsin State Journal and Racine Journal Times. The UW–Madison School of Journalism is awarding him its Ralph O. Nafziger Award for significant achievement within 10 years of graduation.
  • Wilmott Ragsdale, professor emeritus of journalism and mass communication, will receive the Harold L. Nelson Award for his contributions to journalism education. Ragsdale originated courses in specialized reporting, critical writing and the literary aspects of journalism. By the time he joined the UW faculty in 1960, he had been a merchant seaman, published poet and war correspondent for Time, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. He retired in 1982.

“We’re looking forward to a wonderful evening,” says Robert Drechsel, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “These winners exemplify everything we hope our graduates will accomplish. All of them have had a major impact on their fields.”

The banquet will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. in Memorial Union’s Great Hall. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Tickets, $20 per person, should be reserved no later than April 8 through the School of Journalism, (608) 263-4080.