Alumni and Den of Distinction

Rhonda Shear and MassComm Leadership

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The Loyola University New Orleans School of Communication and Design recognizes outstanding SCD alumni through its hall of fame, the School of Communication and Design Den of Distinction.

This honor recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves nationally through a lifetime of accomplishments or by extraordinary achievement. Nominees, through those accomplishments and achievements, should be innovative leaders, set new standards of excellence and clearly serve as role models for Loyola’s students, alumni and our greater community.

The Den of Distinction recognizes unparalleled achievement by alumni who stand out as the finest examples of their profession and also embody the ideals of a Jesuit education brought to life, including:

  • pursuit of excellence
  • development of personal potential
  • critical thinking 
  • effective communication
  • commitment to service
  • global perspective


The Loyola University New Orleans School of Communication and Design seeks nominations for the school’s Den of Distinction. Please share the reasons you believe a nominee meets the requirements and include as much biographical data as possible to help the selection committee in its deliberations. Send the information to:


John Deveney, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
Chair, Nominating Chair, SCD Den of Distinction


Sonya F. Duhé, Ph.D.
Chair, Loyola School of Communication and Design


View past recipients 

Nominate Den of Distinction


Congratulations to the 2019 Den of Distinction inductee:

BRANDI BOATNER, class of 2005

Here's Brandi's story.



Journalism alum Colleen Dulle, SMC class of 2017, assistant producer of audio and video at America Media, was named Multimedia Journalist of the Year by the Catholic Press Association. She produces the web series, “Faith in Focus with Fr. James Martin, S.J.,” co-hosts a weekly news podcast, as well as writing. 

Journalism alum Lou Berney, class of 1986, published “November Road,” from William Morrow/HarperCollins. This is Berney’s fourth book. It will be adapted for the screen by Lawrence Kasdan.

Tamar Meguerditchian Gregorian, APR, who graduated in PR in 2004, has earned her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Louisiana Press Association presented awards to journalism alumni Leslie Gamboni, The Advocate, and Keith Magill, the Daily Courier, in the LPA’s Better Newspaper Contest 2019. Gamboni on 3rd place in Best Staff Generated Ad. Magill was recognized with a 1st place in the Best Regular Column/Sam Hanna Award for his story, “Gulf dead zone,” and a 3rd place for his columns.

Journalism grad Eric Knoepfler, digital strategist and copywriter at Deep Fried Advertising, was part of the team that took home at Silver Addy in the consumer website category at the 2019 American Advertising Awards, presented by the Ad Club of New Orleans. At the Addys, Heather Miranne, public relations alum, and her team won two Silver Addys for Specialty Advertising - Other Merchandise. Heather is project manager at Imaginal Marketing Group.

Cameron Hill, 2014 PR alum, was named Educator of the Year for Plaquemines Parish. He is athletic director and basketball coach at South Plaquemines High School.

Public relations alumni Gretchen Hirt Gendron (2012) and James Lambert  (2014) were recognized at the 2019 Flambeaux Awards, presented by the Public Relations Association of Louisiana - New Orleans chapter, with (respectively) the SPARK Award for practitioner of the year and the EMBER Award for rising PR professional.

Michelle Dunnick, class of 2008, was named the NACE New Orleans Member of the Year. Michelle, special events manager at United Way of Southeast Louisiana, is past-president of the New Orleans chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events.

Marlene Sharp, director of production at Level-5 abby, inc., was a top 5 nominee/finalist for Best TV Pilot in the August script competition (Action on Film/Script Summit Film Festival) for her project, “Born in LA: Dolls and All.” Marlene graduated in 1992 with a BA in Drama/Communications.

Brandi Boatner, class of 2006, is the winner of the 2018 PRSSA National Hall of Fame Award. Brandi is social and influencer communications lead, Global Markets at IBM CHQ Communications.

SCD alumni were stars of the night at the 60th Annual Excellence in Journalism awards, presented by the Press Club of New Orleans.

The Clarion Herald, led by Loyola alum Peter Finney, Jr., won 10 awards at the Catholic Media Conference of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR: Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more - Third Place 

BEST REPORTING OF SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES: Care for God’s Creation - First Place

BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: National Event, Diocesan Newspaper - Second Place  

BEST PERSONALITY PROFILE: Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more - Second Place and Third Place 

BEST PHOTOGRAPH: Best General News Photo - Second Place  

BEST INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYSIS NEWS WRITING: Investigative News Writing, Diocesan Newspaper - Third Place 

BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: National Event, Diocesan Newspaper - Honorable Mention

BEST NEWS WRITING ON A LOCAL OR REGIONAL EVENT: Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more - Honorable Mention

BEST REPORTING ON VOCATIONS TO PRIESTHOOD, RELIGIOUS LIFE OR DIACONATE: Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more - Honorable Mention

Eric Eyre, Class of 1987, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting. A reporter for the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail, Eyre won for his investigative coverage of the opiod crisis

Do you have awards and successes to share?  Email them to We'll share them here. Don't forget to include your class year and degree.

SCD alums work all over the world, including:

Adjust Advantage Capital Advocate Health Care
AFSC/Magellan Federal Allegiant Airlines American Red Cross
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Atlantic Records Avita Pharmacy
Biogen Blackbird Communications Bond Moroch
Bunim/Murray Productions City of New Orleans CNN
Community Impact The CW Network Deep Fried Advertising
Delta Airlines Deveney Communications Division D
ESPN Fresh Media FSC Interactive
Gambel Communications Haley Grand Designs Harry Tompson Center
House of Blues HSN IBM
Icon International Imaginal Marketing Group Infinite Scale
Inside Washington Publishers Jacob's Color Link Initiative The Lens
Lin Digital - A Nexstar Digital Company Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency LSU Foundation
Lucid Mavenly + Co. Maven Womenswear
Metis Communications Minneapolis Star Tribune ML Jordan
Momentum Worldwide MSNBC The New Orleans Advocate
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau NHS Global Events One Acadiana
Open English Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute - PCORI Peter A. Mayer
Port of Gulfport Res Publica Group Renaissance Publishing
Sheraton Metairie New Orleans Hotel Skehan Communications Southwest Airlines
The Spears Group Special Olympics Spectrum Science Communications
Strategic Giving, Ltd. Tampa Bay Lightning ​​​​Telemundo
The Times-Picayune/ TMP Worldwide TransLoc
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency United Way Utilisima/Fox Life
Viacom Washington Business Dynamics Washington Post
WBRZ WDSU Weber Shandwick
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