SOJC names three new Hall of Achievement inductees

Story by Andra Brichacek

The UO School of Journalism and Communication named three new inductees to its Hall of Achievement:

  • Eric Allen Jr., Class of '55
  • Lauren Kessler, MS '75
  • Tracy Wong, BA '81

All three will be formally inducted into the SOJC HoA at the annual Hall of Achievement Scholarship Gala on Oct. 5.

The school has also selected Tricia Duryee, BA '00, as the 2017 recipient of the Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Established in 1998, the SOJC Hall of Achievement honors the school’s alumni and faculty for exceptional accomplishments and contributions to their professions and to the communities in which they live and work.

“Induction into the Hall of Achievement is the UO SOJC’s highest honor,” said Juan-Carlos Molleda, the school’s Edwin L. Artzt Dean. “To our students, faculty and alumni, our HoA members are inspirational, not just for their amazing accomplishments, but also for their dedication to making a difference in their professions and in the lives of others.”

Eric Allen Jr. is the son of Eric W. Allen, who served as the founding dean of the UO SOJC from 1916 until 1944. The younger Allen, who died in 1986 — only one year after he retired from a 44-year career as a journalist — was the editor of the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon. In 1976, he accepted the Voorhies Award for the newspaper, which was honored for its opposition to a short-lived law preventing access. He wrote 12-16 editorials a week defending civil liberties, the environment and gun control, and he was active in civic affairs in southern Oregon. A 1985 inductee into the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame, Allen was also a Pulitzer Prize judge on three occasions.

“Few Oregon journalists ever had to fill shoes of the size that faced Eric W. Allen Jr. when he began his newspaper career shortly after the end of World War II,” said Doug Bates, BS ’68, a Pulitzer Prize winner, 2008 HOA inductee and member of the 2017 HOA selection committee. “His father, who had been among a handful of distinguished American journalists who pioneered the field of journalism education, was a revered figure in the news industry. The son emerged impressively from that large shadow during a long career at the Medford Mail Tribune in Medford, where he became an editor known for an astonishingly energetic output of editorials that helped shape late-20th-century Oregon. Regarded during his era as a progressive toiling in a markedly conservative corner of the state, Allen was nonetheless hugely respected and influential. Upon his death, he was widely eulogized as ‘the dean of Oregon newspapers.’”

Lauren Kessler  is a professor emerita of the SOJC who launched two master’s programs and the Wordsworth writing initiative at the school during her 35-year tenure. A narrative nonfiction writer, Kessler is the award-winning author of 15 books that tackle subjects ranging from the world of ballet (“Raising the Barre”) to anti-aging (“Counterclockwise”) to Alzheimer’s (Pacific Northwest Book Award winner “Dancing with Rose”). Her body of work also includes three textbooks and the Oregon Book Award winner “Stubborn Twig,” the first Oregon Reads book selected for all Oregonians to read in 2009.

“When Lauren joined our faculty in 1980, she brought great rigor and creativity to our mission,” said Duncan McDonald, MS ’72, SOJC professor emeritus, 2012 HoA inductee and a member of the 2017 HoA selection committee. McDonald collaborated on the influential grammar textbook “When Worlds Collide” with Kessler in the 1980s. “Her prolific writings have set an enviable standard in the world of literary nonfiction.”

Tracy Wong is the chairman, executive creative director and founding partner of WONGDOODY, an independent advertising agency with offices in Seattle and Los Angeles. With more than 350 national and international awards to his credit, including work in the Clio Hall of Fame and the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal for Lifetime Achievement, Wong is one of the most honored individuals in the advertising industry today. Outside the field, he is perhaps best recognized for his appearance on “The Pitch,” an AMC reality show about advertising’s real “Mad Men.” He is currently working on a book titled “CREATIVE DEMOCRACY.”

“Tracy Wong’s legacy in the frenetic world of marketing communications is forever tied to his insightful and challenging art,” said McDonald. “He is a visionary leader who brings mindful calm to the message storm.”

The Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, established in 2009 and named for the school’s first dean, recognizes alumni under 40 who have made a difference in their careers. This year’s Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alumnus, Tricia Duryee, began her career at the Seattle Times working on the technology industry beat. Since then, she has worked at, AllThingsDigital and GeekWire. She is now a freelance technology writer focusing on mobile devices, e-commerce, online payments and video games.

“After graduating from the SOJC and completing a Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism internship, Tricia became a highly regarded reporter covering the high tech industry,” said Tim Gleason, UO SOJC professor, former dean and current director of the HoA program. “Few journalists have developed her level of expertise as quickly. She never forgot the value of her internship, and she has helped us grow the Snowden program.”

In 2001, the SOJC expanded the HoA to include the Hall of Achievement Student Scholarship Fund. This program includes 14 individual scholarship funds established to honor HoA members as well as a general Hall of Achievement Student Fund.

“The Hall of Achievement scholarship fund and named HoA scholarships are an integral part of the SOJC’s scholarship program,” said Gleason. “We are committed to creating access for students and to providing levels of financial support that transform lives. When given the opportunity, students do extraordinary work that is shaping the future. Scholarships make that work possible.”

The SOJC will honor its 2017 HoA inductees and Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alumnus at the 20th annual Hall of Achievement Scholarship Dinner on Oct. 5, 2017, at Venue 252 in Eugene, Oregon. Advance ticket purchase is required for the awards dinner. A portion of the ticket price of $150 per person or $1,200 for a sponsor table supports the Hall of Achievement Student Scholarship Fund. To purchase tickets, please contact Emma Oravecz, events manager.

Andra Brichacek is the SOJC Communication team’s writer, editor and editorial content planner. She has nearly 20 years’ experience creating content for print and online media and has specialized in education since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @andramere.