2006 Hall of Fame


Betsy Bolding ’62

Betsy Bolding may have distinguished herself with a career outside of journalism, but she recalls her training at the Wildcat as having “prepared me well for every job I’ve had. Asking good questions, preparing succinct reports or memos, taking good notes–all these things are invaluable in politics, business and community organizations.”

Tucson’s Woman of the Year in 2003, Betsy has an impressive record of community involvement, both professionally and as a volunteer. In her current position as director of consumer affairs at Tucson Electric Power, Betsy manages the company’s K-8 in-school education programs and provides community outreach for TEP’s special programs to benefit low-income customers and for its solar and renewable energy programs.

A high school journalism and English teacher for 15 years, Betsy turned to politics in 1978, successfully co-chairing Gov. Bruce Babbitt’s campaign in southern Arizona. She managed his branch office and handled issues pertinent to the Tucson region, serving as his special assistant during his eight years in office.

With her background in consumer affairs and politics, Betsy is deeply in touch with the Tucson community. More than that–she is a whirlwind of activity and involvement in the arts, education and community service. She is a past president and director of the Community Food Bank, and her involvement with the Arizona Community Action Association, a state-wide group, keeps her in contact with agencies that provide services to low-income families. She is also currently a director of Childs-play, a Tempe-based professional children’s theater group, and a past chairman of the Arizona Theater Company and a member of its Honorary Board. She was founding president of the Tucson Cinema Foundation which owns and operates the Loft Cinema.

Betsy, who is a trustee of Prescott College, has stayed involved with her alma mater as well. She is a founding member of the UA Women’s Studies Advisory Council and serves on the advisory boards of PHASE and the KUAT Communications Group.

Nancy Cleeland ’77

A reporter with the Los Angeles Times since 1998, Nancy Cleeland was the lead writer on a team that examined Wal-Mart and its impact on labor, the marketplace and the global economy (“The Wal-Mart Effect”). This in-depth three-part series was a “powerful look at a powerful company” and won wide acclamation, including the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting and the George Polk Award for Economics Reporting, both in 2004.

Known in recent years for her superb coverage of labor issues and the working class, Nancy joined the Times as a metro reporter for the Orange County edition specializing in Latino affairs. Prior to that her career had taken her to South America, Central America and Vietnam, both as a freelancer and on assignment for the San Diego Union-Tribune. From 1989-92 she was the Mexico City correspondent for Copley News Service and the national correspondent for four years. Nancy broke into the business as reporter for the Associated Press in Tucson following graduation from the UA and worked for the Blade-Tribune in Oceanside (Calif.) before starting at the Union-Tribune as an outdoor writer.

In addition to the Pulitzer and Polk awards earned from the Wal-Mart series (which also was widely honored by other entities), Nancy’s professional recognition includes top writing awards from the Asian American Journalists Association and from the Association of Hispanic Journalists. While at the Wildcat in the heydays of the 1970s, Nancy was part of a talented news staff that included then city editor Rob Wilson and Ernest Sotomayor, who are also new members of the Wildcat Hall of Fame from the class of 1977.

Tomas Guillen ’74

As a journalist specializing in criminal justice issues, Tomas Guillen has covered some dark and grisly stories, and his writings have led to a New York Times bestseller and to a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.

Now an associate professor at Seattle University, where he teaches reporting and writing, Tomas worked for 20 years as a journalist at the Tucson Citizen, Omaha World-Herald and Seattle Times. Early in his career he had international reporting experience covering two volcanoes, El Chichon in Mexico and Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia. In 1988 he and a colleague were Pulitzer Prize finalists for their coverage of the Green River serial killings in the Seattle area, and in 1995 his stories on crime laboratories won the Silver Gavel in the American Bar Association investigative reporting competition.

In 1990 Tomas co-authored “The Search for the Green River Killer”, which became a New York Times bestseller. He followed up with “Toxic Love” in 1995, a book about a poisoning case in Omaha. Tomas’ latest book, “Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through the Green River Murders”, was published this year by Prentice Hall. With his extensive background in crime coverage, Tomas has judged numerous competitions, including the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award and, as a member of the Association of Criminal Justice Science, frequently presents research papers related to criminal justice issues. He also has discussed these topics on CNN, FOX and Good Morning America.

An El Paso native, Tomas graduated from the UA in 1974 and later earned a master’s from the University of Washington. He gravitated toward journalism because “someone had once told me journalism involved writing and making people laugh and making people cry.” But as a freshman he spoke mostly Spanish and had trouble writing a clear sentence in English. “Suffice to say,” Tomas recalls, “that Prof. Donald Carson and his fine colleagues showed mercy on me while I learned. And so did the editors at the Daily Wildcat.”

Ellen Hale ’72

Ellen Hale became AP’s director of corporate communications in 2004 and was named a vice president this year. She has 30 years of experience as a reporter, including extensive postings abroad and coverage of medical and science issues.

Prior to joining the Associated Press, Ellen was London correspondent for USA Today where in addition to developing enterprise stories for all five sections of the newspaper, she anchored European coverage of the war on terrorism. She also covered the ailing John Paul II from Rome.

Following graduation in 1972 and a stint with the UA News Service, Ellen began her career (as many Wildcat Hall of Famers have) at the Tucson Citizen. As her career advanced, Ellen held a number of positions with Gannett News Service, including national medical correspondent (Gannett’s first one), national environmental correspondent, and national correspondent based in San Francisco. She also launched the Gannett News Service’s weekly medical and science page.

In 1985 Ellen traveled around the world writing about AIDS and reporting from the US, Haiti, Africa, Europe and Asia for a continuing series called “AIDS: A Killer Stalks the Globe.” This work earned her the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for Outstanding Reporting from Abroad. She also reported extensively on global population and environmental issues and, when the Soviet Union started to fall apart, covered the tragic environmental legacy of Communism, reporting from Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

Awarded a Knight Journalism fellowship in 1993, Ellen studied creative writing and the economic costs of environmental protection at Stanford. Before joining USA Today, she was deputy managing editor/features for Gannett’s suburban Westchester Rockland newspaper group.

In 1989, Ellen was named one of the 100 outstanding graduates of the UA at its centennial celebration.

Jones Osborn ’43

Jones Osborn, who set aside his journalism education at the UA to volunteer for active duty following the attack on Pearl Harbor, has a record of public service befitting of someone from the “greatest generation.”

Serving nearly four years in the Army, Jones left the service in 1946 as an infantry captain and returned to his hometown of Yuma. For 25 years he was editor of the Yuma Daily Sun and was president of the Arizona Newspapers Association in 1950. The ANA recognized Jones as “master editor and publisher” in 1967.

Throughout his life, Jones has been active in civic service in Yuma as a member of many community groups and organizations. But it is as a legislator that Jones made his mark on the state.

First elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1970, Jones was appointed to the State Senate in 1973 and re-elected for 8 terms. He was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and served also on the Education Committee, the Commerce, Labor, Insurance and Banking Committee, and the Legislative Ethics Committee. He served both as a majority whip and then minority leader when party control changed.

Jones counts as his legislative achievements being author of the state’s Sunset Law in 1978, creating the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) in 1983, and authoring Intensive Probation Services legislation in 1984. Jones was rated on several occasions as one of the “Ten Most Effective Legislators” by the Arizona Republic and, among many other distinctions, he received the National Distinguished Legislator Award from the Democratic Legislative Leaders Association in Washington, D.C. in 1988.

Jones was appointed to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) in 1976 and was elected chairman in 1990. He has served since 1994 on the Arizona Judicial Commission, among numerous other civic posts following his legislative career.

While at the UA, Jones wrote for the Wildcat, the Desert yearbook and the humor magazine Kitty Kat.

Nicholas Proffitt ’68

Nick Proffitt’s career surged through the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s. As a Newsweek reporter he covered the Black Panthers and the Charles Manson murders. As a correspondent–and later the Newsweek bureau chief–in Vietnam, he covered the invasion of Laos in 1971 and North Vietnam’s 1972 Easter offensive. He was also in Vietnam in 1975 to cover the end of the war and the fall of Saigon, earning an Overseas Press Club award.

Newsweek’s Beirut bureau chief from 1973-76, Nick covered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the assassination of King Faisal and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Next it was London, then Houston, both as bureau chief, and then back abroad to Nairobi from 1978-1981 where he was responsible for all sub-saharan Africa except South Africa. He reported on the Rhodesian war, the fall of Idi Amin in Uganda, and countless other human tragedies and outrages endemic to Africa. In 1980 he also covered the Iranian hostage crisis from Teheran.

Nick resigned from Newsweek in 1981 and turned to fiction writing. He had some stories to tell. From 1982-1990 he published three novels, “Garden of Stone” (made into a film by Francis Ford Coppola), “The Embassy House,” and “Edge of Eden.” More recently Nick wrote and edited an internet newsletter focusing on technical analysis of the stock market.

The Daily Wildcat city editor in 1966, Nick figured he was in line to become editor in chief. But when the Wildcat split that year from the journalism department, he decided to go out and get a “real” job–first at KOLD and then at the Daily Star. Between his junior and senior years, Nick interned at the Washington Post. One day an editor pulled him aside and told him he was the best trained intern the paper had ever had. Nick recalls replying that “any credit due belongs to four men: Sherman Miller, Philip Mangelsdorf, Don Carson and Brewster Campbell. That was the whole of the journalism department in my time, and I never meant anything more in my life.”

Nick is married to Martie (Hudson) Proffitt, also a UA grad with a journalism degree.

Ron Silverman ’65

Ron Silverman turned from covering the entertainment industry as a reporter for Daily Variety in Los Angeles to being part of it as a prolific writer and producer for television and movies.

Ron’s credits are extensive. They include “Shoot to Kill” starring Sidney Poitier, “Brubaker” with Robert Redford, “Lifeguard” starring Sam Elliott, “Buster and Billie”, and the “Last Innocent Man” with Ed Harris. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Screen Actors Guild, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Early in his career Ron was a writer for “The Wild Wild West” TV series on CBS, and was a producer and writer for many United Artists series or pilots, including “The Outer Limits,” “Stoney Burke”, and “O.K. Crackerby.”

In 1992 Ron left producing to become Dean of Studies at the American Film Institute’s film school in Hollywood. Not only was Ron responsible for administering the center and supervising the curriculum, but he also moderated more than 25 Harold Lloyd Master Seminars. Guests included Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Norman Jewison, and James Cameron. More recently, Ron has taught film classes at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he now lives.

Ron graduated from the UA with highest honors and served as managing editor of the Arizona Wildcat. He also won the Donald Still Award for outstanding service to the Wildcat. His first job out of school was with the Arizona Republic (before joining Daily Variety) where his 39-article series on mental illness and the Arizona State Hospital received the Bell Award from the National Association for Mental Health.

“The more I do,” Ron writes, “the more I realize that my life was molded by my experience at the University of Arizona and by Douglas Martin (then head of the journalism department). He was, indeed, my Mr. Chips.”

Ron now joins Doug Martin in the Wildcat Alumni Hall of Fame.

Ernest Sotomayor ’77

In the middle of his career as a Daily Wildcat sportswriter (and later sports editor), Ernie Sotomayor had to face up to the fact that he would need to take RPA, then (like now) known as the toughest class, and with the toughest teacher, Don Carson.

“Until that class, my only trips to the county courthouse were at Christmas time each year with my mother to view the nativity and pat baby Jesus on the head,” Ernie recalls.

“Donald Carson changed that. Instilled with the fear that we would fail in the practice of journalism unless we learned what he was about to teach us, I passed Reporting Public Affairs–and I did so with an A.”

That A in RPA more than paid off for Ernest Sotomayor, who now serves as director of career services at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism following a news career marked by award-winning coverage and extensive involvement in diversity programs.

Ernie joined the Dallas Times Herald as a reporter in 1979 and later served as state editor and associate editor in charge of newsroom training, recruitment, diversity programs and community relations. In 1987, he directed a year-long project covering the immigration amnesty program that won the SDX-SPJ’s National Gold Medal for Public Service. Ernie then began a prolific association with Newsday in 1989, serving as the Brooklyn/Queens editor of New York Newsday until 1995 when the New York edition closed. He then served as Long Island regional editor, deputy business editor, and editor of Newsday.com. He was among the editing team that covered the New York City subway crash in 1991 and the TWA flight 800 crash in 1996, both of which won Pulitzer Prizes for spot news.

Long involved in diversity issues, Ernie has served as vice president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, co-director of the Summer Program for Minority Journalists at UC Berkeley, and president of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.

William Walsh ’84

Bill Walsh is a man of words, so dedicated to them that when he’s not editing copy for the Washington Post, he’s writing books about copy editing or posting to his renowned copy editing website, theslot.com. So, in his own words, here is Bill’s recollection of his start at the Wildcat:

I’m still in awe of the Wildcat (he writes). As great as Arizona’s journalism school is, there’s no substitute for learning by doing, and what a place to do! Showing up for work in my freshman year as a “copy reader” when I wasn’t quite sure what that was, I’m not sure I could have found a better initiation rite than Gilbert Bailon’s grease-pencil critiques on the bulletin board. Gilbert, Judy Dunwell, John D’Anna, Robert Cauthorn, Kathleen Schultz, Sam Stanton, Phil Matier, Mike Murphy, Drez Jennings and others–so young but so hard-bitten, so tough, so good, and they all scared the hell out of me. Andy Van De Voorde, Scot Skinner, Gene Armstrong–all had such a distinctive voice at such a young age. Frank Miele, Tom Nichols and Tim O’Mara taught me a lot about copy editing. Mike Chesnick and Jody Snyder are great journalists as well as great friends. I don’t really have any basis for comparison, but I’ll wager that the 1980-84 Wildcat all-star team would kick a good deal of butt, in a historical sense.

Bill’s non-Wildcat all-star career started at the old Phoenix Gazette, where he broke in covering the night police beat. He soon joined the copy desk and when he left the Gazette in 1989 he was assistant news editor for design. At the Washington Times he started as assistant copy chief and rose to copy chief, a position he held for five years before moving to the Washington Post in 1997. Bill has been copy chief of the national desk at the Post since 2003.

In 1995 Bill launched theslot.com, a website for copy editors (and a lot more). He is the author of two books, “Lapsing into a Comma” (2000) and “The Elephants of Style” (2004).

Rob Wilson ’77

A reporter and editor at the Wildcat during those fruitful years of the 1970s–which produced so many talented alumni–Rob Wilson gives credit to the Wildcat for teaching him the value of teamwork that helped him in his career.

“Sure, we were a bunch of cynical, arrogant, irreverent slobs–but we always hung together, often under intense pressure,” Rob recalls. “This turned out to be great training for my later work at the AP and IBM.”

Working summers during college as a general assignment reporter for the Norwalk (Conn.) Hour, Ron joined the AP upon graduation, starting in Miami and later moving to Lansing, Michigan, where he covered the state legislature. He got off the reporting track and joined his family’s furniture business, serving as vice president for advertising, before taking a position in 1982 as a writer and spokesman for the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C.

Rob joined IBM as a communications specialist in 1984 and rose rapidly through the corporate ranks, taking assignments in Boca Raton, Fla., San Jose, and Somers, N.Y. In 1991 he was named director of financial communications at IBM’s corporate headquarters, and in 1994 was promoted to vice president for media relations. As a member of IBM’s senior management group, Rob was responsible for the company’s worldwide media relations, financial, international, marketing and public policy communications. He provided media counsel and advice directly to the IBM chairman and chief executives. In 1995 Rob was named one of IBM’s top executives.

Although Rob “retired” as vice president in 2001, he was so valuable to the company that he was asked to stay on as a part-time consultant, working both from his home in Tucson and company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.

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