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Journalism School's Highest Alumni Honor Awarded to Four Prominent Graduates

By Caroline Ladhani

Mel Gussow ('64)

Four prominent alumni of the Graduate School of Journalism received the school's highest alumni honor during the Journalism Alumni Association's spring meeting. The awards are presented annually for journalistic excellence, a single outstanding journalistic accomplishment and/or a contribution to journalism education.

The 2002 Columbia Journalism Alumni Award winners are: Mel Gussow ('64), cultural writer, The New York Times, Frederick Kempe ('77), editor and associate publisher, The Wall Street Journal Europe, Rena Pederson ('70), vice president, editorial page editor and columnist, The Dallas Morning News, and Marquita Pool-Eckert ('69), senior producer, CBS News Sunday Morning.

Frederick Kempe ('77)

Mel Gussow ('64), cultural writer of The New York Times, has written as a critic and essayist about the theater for more than 40 years. He is the author of seven books, including the biography "Edward Albee: A Singular Journey" (1999) and works based on his extensive interviews over a period of decades with the playwrights Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter. His first book was "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking: A Biography of Darryl F. Zanuck" (1971).

Frederick Kempe ('77), editor and associate publisher, The Wall Street Journal Europe, has spent almost his entire career abroad. He covered the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the ascent and fall of Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia, wars in Afghanistan and Lebanon, the American invasion of Panama, the reunification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet Communism. He joined the Journal in 1981 after two years at Newsweek. He is the author of three books, including "FATHER/LAND, a Personal Search for the New Germany" (1999).

Rena Pederson ('70)

Rena Pederson ('70), vice president, editorial page editor and columnist, The Dallas Morning News, has overall responsibility for the opinion pages, supervising the staff and content of the editorial, letters and Viewpoints pages. She joined the News in 1973 and took charge of the editorial pages in 1986. She was named vice president in 1988. Pederson is a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board and is the co-author, with Dr. Lee Smith, of the book "What's Next? Women Redefining Their Dreams in the Prime of Life" (2001).

Marquita Pool-Eckert ('69), senior producer of the CBS News program Sunday Morning since 1990, has worked in television since graduating from Columbia. She was a producer of domestic and foreign news for The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather for six years prior to her current assignment, and her work has taken her to 15 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. She has won numerous Emmy and other awards, including the Black Career Women Lifetime Achievement Award.

Marquita Pool-Eckert ('69)

Presenters of the 2002 awards will be: Joel Conarroe, president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; Robert Decherd, chairman, president and CEO of A.H. Belo Corporation; Karen Elliott House, president of the International Group, Dow Jones & Company, and Charles Osgood, anchor, CBS News Sunday Morning and The Osgood File.

Previous Columbia Journalism Alumni Award recipients include Molly Ivins ('67), CNN's Myron Kandel ('53), The Washington Post's Dorothy Gilliam ('61), CBS News' Steve Kroft ('75) and the Associated Press' Lou Boccardi ('59).

Published: May 01, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002


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