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Society of Professional Journalists


2012 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist – 1st Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
  • ACU-TV – 1st Place, Best All-Around Television Newscast
  • KACU-FM – 2nd Place, Best All-Around Radio Newscast

2011 – Mark of Excellence Awards - Region 8

2009 – National Mark of Excellence Awards

  • The Optimist – National Finalist, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper

2009 - Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

2008 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Kelline Linton – 1st Place, Feature Writing, “Where everything makes sense”
  • Michael Freeman – 3rd Place, Breaking News Reporting, “An outrageous act”
  • Colter Hettich – 3rd Place, Feature Writing, Staying in tune

2007 – National Mark of Excellence Awards

  • Jared Fields – National Finalist, Feature Writing, “Living to Run”

2007 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Jared Fields – 1st Place, Feature Writing, “Living to Run”
  • Daniel Johnson-Kim – 1st Place, Sports Writing, “Manning Mania”
  • Brian Schmidt – 1st Place, Breaking News Photography, “Creek Runneth Over”
  • Brian Schmidt – 2nd Place, Sports Photography, “Saturday Surprise”

2005 – National Mark of Excellence Awards

  • Steve Holt - National Finalist, Sports Writing, “Niamadu chases track titles”

2005 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist, 1st Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
  • Daniel Barcroft - 1st Place, Editorial Cartooning, “In My Words”
  • Sarah Carlson - 1st Place, General Column Writing, “Column Collection”
  • Steve Holt - 1st Place, Sports Writing, “Niamadu chases track titles”
  • Kyle Robarts - 2nd Place, Sports Column Writing

2004 – National Mark of Excellence Awards

  • Blake Farmer – National Finalist, Television Feature Photography, “Leap of Faith-Jeff Berry Segment”

2004 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Blake Farmer – 1st Place, Television Feature Photography, “Leap of Faith-Jeff Berry Segment”

2003 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist - 1st Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
  • Editorial Writing – 1st Place, Jonathan Smith, ”Student Apathy”
  • General Column Writing – 3rd Place, Paul Anthony, “Trust Between Journalists”
  • Sports Column Writing – 1st Place, Joel Weckerly, “For Pitcher Cochran …”
  • Feature Writing – 2nd Place, Melanie Knox, ”Road to Redemption”
  • Sports Writing – 2nd Place, Steve Holt, “The Voice of God”
  • General News Photography – 3rd Place, Rafael Aguilera, ”Apartment Fire”
  • Feature Photography – 2nd Place, Emily Chastain, ”Are You Getting My Good Side?”
  • Photo Illustration – 2nd Place, Jason Craddock, ”Williams Performing Arts Center”
  • Sports Photography – 3rd Place, Gary Rhodes, ”Sky High”
  • Online Spot News Reporting – 2nd Place, Paul Anthony, ”Vice President Speaks …”

2002 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist – 1st Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
  • Jessica Smith and Paul Anthony - 2nd Place, Editorial Writing
  • Daniel Barcroft - 2nd Place, Editorial Cartooning
  • Steve Holt and Joel Weckerly - Sports Column Writing

2001 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Cajuan Smith - 2nd Place, Sports Writing, “Running a Rough Race,”
  • Brady Lane - 2nd Place, Sports Photography, “Hang on for the ride,”
  • Jessica Smith, Paul Anthony and Steve Holt - 3rd Place, Spot News Reporting, “Anthrax scare,”
  • Jessica Smith - 3rd Place, Feature Writing, “A Really Hot Job,”

2000 – Mark of Excellence Awards - Region 8

  • Amy Wilson - 2nd Place, Editorial Writing, “Media oversteps role in election”
  • Jessica Smith - 2nd Place, General Column Writing, “Measuring Stick” and other columns
  • Amanda Reiter - General News Photography

1999 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Amanda Reiter – 3rd Place, Sports Photography
  • Amanda Reiter – 3rd Place, Photo Illustration

1996 – National Mark of Excellence Awards

  • Michael Woods – National Finalist, Sports Photography

1989 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • Julie Fitzpatrick – 2nd Place, Newspaper Feature Writing
  • Jonathan Witt – 2nd Place, Newspaper Sports Writing

1988 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist – 2nd Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper
  • Byron Harrell – 2nd Place, Feature Writing
  • Candy Holcombe – 3rd Place, Column Writing
  • Dawn Treat – 3rd Place, Sports Writing

1987 – Mark of Excellence Awards – Region 8

  • The Optimist, 2nd Place, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper