Alumnus Issues $50,000 Challenge

Dear Wildcat Alumni & Friends:

I am writing to let you know of a new gift the Wildcat has received. This is a commitment of $50,000 from alumnus Chris Halligan ’89, who was a Wildcat sports writer.  Chris has indicated he wants to support student initiatives, development and training in all areas in the Wildcat workplace.


Chris has also issued a challenge for other alumni and friends to match his gift over the next five years with a goal of $10,000 each year.  In the months ahead we will organize a fund drive to help meet and track this challenge, and we hope you will be able to participate.  If you would like to begin now by donating, please visit our “How to Donate” page.

As the college media landscape evolves, the Wildcat has responded by widening its digital footprint, creating new advertising platforms, and adapting to shifting readership habits. The need to provide our student workforce with the training and tools to meet these challenges will take the support of all of you who value the Daily Wildcat experience and independent campus journalism.

Our thanks to Chris Halligan—a successful technology entrepreneur who was inducted into the Daily Wildcat Alumni Hall of Fame this past March—for initiating this challenge.  “Do good things,” he wrote when making his gift.  With your help, we will.

Mark Woodhams
Director, Arizona Student Media
and Adviser, Arizona Daily Wildcat

Daily Wildcat Staff Wins SPJ Honors

Arizona Daily Wildcat staffers earned 7 regional Mark of Excellence Awards at the Society of Professional Journalists convention in San Diego this spring, including 5 first place winners. One first place winner – for multimedia sports reporting – was later announced as a national finalist.

The winners are:

  • 1st place multi media sports reporting – Colin Darland/Lance Madden
  • 1st place editorial writing – Heather Price-Wright
  • 1st place news photography—Mike Christy
  • 1st place sports column writing – Kevin Zimmerman
  • 1st place general column writing – Kristina Bui
  • 2nd place news photography – Lisa Beth Earle
  • 3rd place best all around college daily – Arizona Daily Wildcat

In other competition this spring, the Daily Wildcat won “best of show” at the Associated Collegiate Press’ national newspaper convention in February, and the was named a Pacemaker finalist, also by the ACP.


Nearly 100 Daily Wildcat staff turned out for our annual awards banquet on May 4, held once again on the lovely patio at Old Pueblo Grille. Staff were honored for year-long achievement in such areas as reporting, sales, customer service, graphic design, photography, illustrations, copy editing, multimedia and much more. This year we added the Wildcat Impact Award “for innovation and enterprise”, which was won by students in 3 different areas of the operation. From the newsroom, Colin Darland earned an Impact award for his redesign of the online paper; from advertising, Daniela Saylor was honored for her success coaching and training peers in sales; and from production, Lindsey Cook was recognized for stepping up as senior production coordinator and revamping several kep production processes.

Winning the signature advertising award – The George Morley Award for Achievement – was Jasmin Bell, a 3-year veteran of our classifieds advertising office.  The Clyde Lowery Award for Professionalism and Integrity, the newsroom’s major honor, was won by Heather Price-Wright, another multi-year veteran who served as opinions editor and copy chief.

A number of graduating seniors were honored for their service to the paper with a Daily Wildcat Alumni Award. On hand to present these awards on behalf of all Wildcat alumni were former EIC Alex Dalenberg and former photo editor Lisa Beth Earle. Winners are (including major positions held):

  • Jessica Leftault, Design Chief, Managing Editor
  • Mike Christy, Photographer, Photo Editor
  • Bethany Barnes, Reporter, Asst News Editor
  • Tim Kosch, Sports Editor
  • Ken Contrata, Copy Chief, Managing Editor
  • Heather Price-Wright, Opinions Editor, Copy Chief
  •  Bryan Roy, Online Editor, Sports Writer
  •  Brandon Specktor, Arts Editor
  •  Christine Bryant, Graphic Designer
  •  Sarah Dalton, Sales Coordinator, Advertising Rep
  • Grego Moore, Advertising Rep
  •  Daniela Saylor, Advertising Rep
  •  Jasmin Bell, Classified Advertising


Arek Sarkissian, former Wildcat reporter and summer editor in chief, circa 2000-2003, has been chosen to be among six American journalists to take part in a week-long exchange program in Turkey and Armenia this summer, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists.

Sarkissian, who now reports for the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press, won first place for both investigative reporting and spot news photography from the Georgia Press Association this spring when he was at the Savannah Morning News.


2011 members of Wildcat Hall of Fame

More than 150 Daily Wildcat alumni and friends gathered at the University Marriott in Tucson on March 26 to induct 13 alumni into the paper’s Hall of Fame and recognize the achievements of 10 young alumni.

It was the 5th induction of a Hall of Fame class and the second ceremony honoring young alumni achievers. The event featured a reception, dinner and presentation program. Jeffrey L. Sklar, editor in chief of the Wildcat in 2002 and 2003, assisted in presenting the young alumni awards. James W. Johnson, professor emeritus of journalism and a member of the Hall of Fame’s 2003 class, introduced the newest Hall of Famers.

Eight decades of Wildcat alumni and staff were represented, from the 1940s to 2010s, demonstrating again the Wildcat’s powerful legacy and impact.

Click here for a pdf of the Hall of Fame program.

Click here for a selection of photos from the dinner and reunion.


From marketing and PR pros to awarding winning journalists to an Iraqi war veteran and author, the 2011 Daily Wildcat Young Alumni Award winners represent high achieving accomplishments. They will be honored at the Wildcat Alumni Hall of Fame banquet and reunion on March 26 in Tucson.

Read more about this year’s young alumni winners. They are:

  • Michael Barber, a digital marketing strategist who was a Wildcat account exec
  • Dave Cieslak, founder of Scutari and Cieslak PR (and former daily newspaper reporter)  who was Wildcat editor in chief
  • Jennifer Duffy, PR manager for the Loews golf resorts in Tucson and Las Vegas who was a Wildcat managing editor
  • Ryan Gabrielson, a 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner who was a reporter on the Wildcat
  • Djamila Grossman, photographer for the Salt Lake City Tribune and a Wildcat reporter and photographer
  • Luke Larson, a Marine veteran of 2 tours in Iraq and author of “The Senator’s Son” who was Wildcat sales manager
  • Nate Olivarez-Giles, a reporter with the LA Times and a Wildcat reporter and photo editor
  • Nicole Santa Cruz, also a reporter for the LA Times and Wildcat editor in chief
  • Daniel Scarpinato, communications director for the Arizona legislature (majority) and a Wildcat editor in chief
  • Maxx Wolfson, field editor for Getty Images and a Wildcat sports editor

The Daily Wildcat Young Alumni Award was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding young alumni who have been out of school within the past 10 years. It is presented every two to three years in conjunction with the Daily Wildcat Hall of Fame.

The 2011 Hall of Fame nominees, announced earlier, can be found here.


Alumni Visit Newsroom

Former Wildcat editors in chief Joe Cole, Bob Crawford, Gordon Evans and Tom Dau stand with current EIC Colin Darland in the Wildcat newsroom.

A group of about 20 journalism alumni, many celebrating their 50th (or thereabouts) class reunion, dropped by the Wildcat newsroom on Homecoming day Oct. 23. These alums all worked on the Wildcat, the Desert yearbook or Kitty Kat humor magazine when they were in school. They toured the Wildcat offices and met with editor in chief Colin Darland, sports editor Tim Kosch and news editor Michelle Monroe.

Among the alumni who attended were Jon Alquist, Betsy Bolding, Joe and Marianne Cole, Bob and Jo Anne Crawford, Rosalie Robles Crow, Tom Dau, Gordon Evans, Vincent Flynn and Sydney Wade Flynn, Bob Goldfarb, Jan Harelson, Jim Johnson, Mary Alice Kellogg, Shirley Kirts Link, Dick Moe and Jim and Odetta Price.


2011 Hall of Fame inductees selected

Congratulations to the newest inductees to the Daily Wildcat Hall of Fame. You can read more about them here. Join us for the Daily Wildcat Alumni Hall of Fame and Young Alumni Awards dinner March 26th to celebrate!

  • Robert Crawford
  • Olaf Frandsen
  • Paul Giblin
  • Chris Halligan
  • Rod Howard
  • Mary Alice Kellogg
  • Morgan Loew
  • Sheila McNulty
  • Jay M. Parker
  • Todd Pletcher
  • Terry Valeski
  • Margo Warren
  • Merrill Windsor (deceased)

Wildcat Banquet Delivers Awards

About 100 Daily Wildcat staff turned out for the annual awards banquet Saturday, May 1, at Old Pueblo Grill in Tucson. Among the highlights:

Laura Donovan accepts the Clyde Lowery award from Mark Woodhams

The Clyde D. Lowery Award for Professionalism and Integrity was awarded to Laura Donovan,a creative writing senior from Scotts Valley, Calif. Laura has been both the opinions page editor and a news reporter (though not at the same time!) on the Wildcat.

The George B. Morley Award for Achievement in Advertising went to Noel Palmer, a junior business major from Phoenix. Noel is an account executive on the ad staff.

Noel Palmer also was awarded the Christopher R. Reinesch Enterprise Scholarship. This scholarship is provided by a former Wildcat advertising representative to recognize an especially enterprising student on our business and sales staff. Noel led the staff in sales in 2009-2010.

Noel Palmer accepts the Morley award

Daily Wildcat Alumni Awards, given on behalf of Wildcat alumni to graduating seniors who have made sustained contributions to the paper, went to:

Lance Madden, sports reporter, sports editor, editor in chief
Kyle Wade, sales manager, account executive
Alicia Sloan, classified advertising/customer service rep
Ken Wright, cartoonist and illustrator
Alan Walsh, photographer
Rodney Hass, page designer, photographer, reporter
Eleni Miachika, advertising account exec
Laura Donovan, opinions editor, reporter
Dalia Rihani, graphic designer