An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

Memorable moments: Hall of Fame honorees inducted, and 6 scholarships awarded to staffers at Friends of Texan annual dinner

You decide: what was the most memorable moment during the recent Friends of The Daily Texan annual dinner?

Consider these words from the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees:

  • New York Times climate change and science reporter John Schwartz telling the crowd how he coveted and treasured the label he hears often: “nerd”.
  • When Leon McNealy, one of the first African Americans to work at The Texan, described what it was like to be at the forefront of the civil rights movement in Austin and beyond, and the message he delivered – in song – abut the continuing struggle for equality.

    Honoree Dr. Leon McNealy and journalism school director Kathleen McElroy
  • When the children of Sylvan Rodriguez, who learned from their Dad “The Eyes of Texas” before any nursery rhyme songs, talked about his passion for journalism, his love for family, his enthusiasm and excitement in covering local news and space exploration, and then brought the house down when they said his favorite song, which he sang often and loudly, was (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
  • When Randy Harvey, former sports editor at The Los Angeles Times and The Houston Chronicle and internationally known for his coverage of 15 Olympic Games and 4 World Cups, said his work in sports at The Texan was his launching pad.
  • When Hartley Hampton, a journalist at heart who turned to the law early in his career and is now a nationally known medical malpractice attorney, talked about the value of his journalistic training, and the value of The Texan in preparing him for his successful career.
Honoree Hartley Hampton, left, Friends member Tom Kleinworth
  • When Judy Walgren, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for her work on violent human rights abuses against women worldwide, highlighting women in Islam and female genital mutilation, talked of her time overseas, and then with her son on stage with her, noted, “This is why I came home; to have our time together.”
  • When Janice Tomlin, who worked for 20 years at ABC News in New York and also as a producer of 60 Minutes, came back from war zones not just with significant journalistic achievements, but with a tiny baby girl; the 4-month girl grabbed Janice’s finger while at a Romanian orphanage and wouldn’t let go; Janice went back on another trip, and and got her out; Marisa, now grown up, attended the dinner with her mom.

    Honoree Randy Harvey


Also honored at the dinner:

  • Professor Olin Hinkle, for 26 years a professor at UT and a classic wordsmith, as the Griff Singer Honoree for his contribution and support to the Daily Texan. A frequent contributor to the Texas Press Messenger, Professor Hinkle did extensive research in typography, photography and small-city newspaper editing and management. He retired from teaching at UT in 1972 when he was awarded TPA’s Golden 50 Award. He died in 1982 in Austin.  The UT chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for students in journalism and mass communication was established in 1961, and is named in honor of Hinkle. He was a recipient of the Moody College Teaching Excellence Award in 1972. Hinkle died in 1982.
Honoree Sylvan Rodriguez’s childen accept father’s award
  • Demi Adejuyigbe, the recipient of the Rising Star Award, recognizing outstanding young professionals just getting their start. He is an accomplished writer, podcaster, comedian, and digital producer. He is currently a writer for the NBC talk show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, and he was named one of Vulture magazine’s “Comedians You Should and Will Know” in 2018. He was unable to attend.
Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt

In addition, Dean Jay Bernhardt updated attendees on Moody College of Communication initiatives, and talked about the importance of The Daily Texan to the UT community.

Gerald A. Johnson, Director of Texas Student Media, outlined recent successful steps taken to get TSM and The Texan onto an even stronger financial footing.

And Texan Editor-in-Chief Spencer H. Buckner and Managing Editor Catherine Marfin provided a video from the staff and also an update on Texan initiatives. Approximately 30 Texan staffers attended  attended the event.

And six Texan staffers  received a total of $6,000 in scholarship grants.

Texan staffers who received grants are:

  • Megan Menchaca, $1,500 from Becky and Jerry Conn Scholarship Fund
  • Tiana Woodard, $1,000 from McConnico-Bouju Scholarship Fund (print)
  •  Josh Guenther, $1,000 from McConnico-Bouju Scholarship Fund (multimedia)
  • Chase Karacostas, $1,500, winner, from Friends of The Daily Texan Achievement Award
  • Sara Schleede, finalist, $500 from Friends of The Daily Texan Achievement Award
  • Brooke Sjoberg, finalist, $500 from Friends of The Daily Texan Achievement Award

    Texan staffer scholarship winners

The grants  were provided by:

Becky and Jerry Conn, an Austin couple who met 59 years ago as staffers on The Daily Texan, established the Jerry and Becky Conn Daily Texan Scholarship Fund to be awarded annually in perpetuity.

The generous gift will generate a $1,500 cash award for a deserving Texan staffer. The award will be announced each fall at the Friends of the Texan annual event. The couple said their gift came from two separate intentions: “We feel that The Daily Texan is an excellent way to combat a rising tide of ignorance about news, the news media and any confusion of good journalism with ‘fake news’. It provides great practice and learning experiences that include the highest standards of American journalism.”  The couple said their second intention was to commemorate the Texan because that was where they met on a spring day in 1960, so the Texan is doubly meaningful to them.

Honoree John Schwartz

John McConnico and Jean-Marc Bouju are providing annually two scholarships of $1,000 each to staff members of The Daily Texan. Without The Daily Texan student-run newspaper, McConnico and Bouju may never have met and shared overlapping, award-winning careers in photojournalism.The Daily Texan nurtured them, just has it has thousands of students who have descended the dark stairwell to its busy basement office. McConnico taught Bouju how to load film on steel reels and not to let the world weigh him down. Bouju encouraged McConnico to be serious about photojournalism and to take risks to get the best images. No two people on the Texan’s photography staff were anything alike, yet all shared the desire to tell other people’s stories.

The Friends of The Daily Texan presented a $1,500 award to one student, and $500 finalist awards to two other students. The Friends group has established a permanent endowment for its main scholarship, and is continuing a fund campaign to fully endow for perpetuity the other two finalist awards. The Friends group initiated its endowed award in 2018.

All  three donor groups, as they made their donations, agreed with the concept of a joint  scholarship announcement of the winners at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner, held each fall since the group was founded in 2013.

Attendees at the dinner received a Friends of The Daily Texan Reporter’s Notebook, containing a listing of all Pulitzer Prize winners who have worked at The Texan, a list of all Hall of Fame honorees since the recognitions were first awarded in 2013 and blank pages for notetaking.

If you were not able to attend and would like a Reporters’ Notebook, you can receive one by making a donation of $25 or more at this link:

Or by becoming a members of the Friends for as little as $25 a year at this link:


Honoree Janice Tomlin
Honoree Judy Walgren and son

Questions? Message: [email protected]