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U of M Journalism Alumni Club Will Honor Five at Awards Dinner Oct. 18

For release: October 2, 2012
For press information, contact Dan Hope, 901-326-2000 or Greg Nelson, 901-233-1844

The University of Memphis Journalism Alumni Club will honor five individuals during its annual awards banquet Thursday, Oct. 18, at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m.

The club will honor local advertising executive/freelance writer Rikki Boyce and photojournalist Battle Vaughn, retired from the Miami Herald, with the Charles E. Thornton Outstanding Alumni Award. Gil Michael, who served as director of Photo Services at the U of M for 35 years, will receive the Herbert Lee Williams Award. Gary Parrish, national basketball columnist for and host of “The Gary Parrish Show” on 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis, will receive the Outstanding Young Journalism Alumni Award. U of M journalism student Chelsea Boozer, editor-in-chief of The Daily Helmsman, will be recognized as the University’s Emerging Journalist.

The keynote speaker will be Otis Sanford, columnist for The Commercial Appeal and holder of the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism at the U of M. Action News 5 anchor Joe Birch will serve as the emcee.

Tickets to the event are $60 per person or $575 for a table of 10. The deadline for reservations is Oct. 12. For more information, or to make reservations, contact Shannon Miller at 901-678-4373 or

The Charles E. Thornton Award is named in honor of a Memphis journalist who was killed while on assignment in Afghanistan in 1985. The Herbert L. Williams Award is named in honor of the U of M Journalism Department’s founding chair.


Biographies for award recipients follow:

Rikki Boyce has spent her career alternating between the independent life of the freelance world and the collaborative environment of advertising agencies. For most of the past two decades, she has provided advertising strategy and creative writing services to advertising agencies, design firms and a number of business, industrial, and retail clients. Prior to that, she was creative director for Sossaman Bateman Advertising. With her ability to bring out the creativity in others, she was later tapped by Sossaman & Associates to run The Launching Pad, an innovative training program for young advertising creative staff. She has also served as an adjunct professor of advertising at the University of Memphis.Her creative work has won a number of local, regional and national awards, including national ADDYs. Her work has appeared in Print, Communication Arts Design Annual, and the Graphis Annual.  She currently serves on the College of Communications and Fine Arts Advisory Board.

Battle Vaughan worked for the Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News after graduation before moving on to The Miami Herald as a staff photographer. He worked there until his retirement in 2009 as a photographer, lab manager, Graphics Department administrator, photo editor, and for the final three years as a video producer for the Herald’s website. Vaughan’s photos have been published in Life, Time, Newsweek, Geo, The New York Times and other publications. He holds the staff record of 105 cover stories produced for The Miami Herald’s former Sunday magazine, Tropic. He has won awards from the National Press Photographer's Association, the Associated Press Managing Editors, and Editor and Publisher Magazine.

Gil Michael retired from the U of M in 1996 after more than 35 years of service. Throughout the years, he enjoyed a unique and diverse career. Michael spent the night of July 19, 1968, in jail photographing the incarceration of James Earl Ray at the special request of then-Shelby County Sheriff Bill Morris. Of the 65 photos made, only one was released for immediate worldwide distribution. It became one of the most published photos of the year. Michael has served as photographer for the FedEx St. Jude Classic for more than 35 years.

He was photographer for several books, including Graceland: The Living Legacy of Elvis Presley,

Elvis Presley’s Graceland: The Official Guidebook, and A Painter’s Psalm: The Mural from Walter Anderson’s Cottage. Michael has photographed such political figures as Dan Quayle, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Newt Gingrich, entrepreneurs Sam Walton and Fred Smith, and celebrities Charlton Heston, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Kellye Cash, Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Jones and Isaac Hayes. He now manages Gil Michael Photography and performs with various bands.

Gary Parrish is a national college basketball columnist for, a national college basketball analyst for the CBS Sports Network, and the host of “The Gary Parrish Show” on 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis. The radio show is the highest-rated sports talk show in the history of the city. It has been voted the best local sports talk show by readers of the Memphis Flyer every year since it first aired. He began his professional career as a reporter at The Commercial Appeal, where he most notably broke the Albert Means recruiting scandal in 2001 that prompted a federal investigation of three Memphians and NCAA investigations into Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky. Parrish covered John Calipari’s U of M basketball program for The Commercial Appeal from 2002 to 2006. He left The CA in 2006 to work for CBS.

Chelsea Boozer is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Helmsman, the independent student newspaper at the U of M. This summer she completed a reporting internship with Scripps Howard Foundation Wire in Washington, D.C. Boozer is a two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Collegiate Journalism Awards in two categories, in-depth reporting and feature writing. In 2011 she received an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for a series of stories about the allocation of student activity fees. Also that year, she was named College Journalist of the Year in the Best of the South Awards presented by the Southeastern Journalism Conference. Other honors include a first-place Mark of Excellence award for in-depth reporting from the Region 12 Society of Professional Journalists. Boozer, who grew up in Marion, Ark., interned at The Commercial Appeal in the summer of 2011 after participating in a war-reporting seminar in Mainz, Germany.



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