Johnston and McCollum honored with O.O. McIntyre and Amy Lenk Awards from Missouri School of Journalism

Laura Johnston, Kim McCollum

By Austin Fitzgerald

COLUMBIA, Mo. (June 5, 2023) — The Missouri School of Journalism has announced the winners of its annual awards for teaching and staff excellence. Associate Professor Laura Johnston received the O.O. McIntyre Professorship for Teaching Excellence, while Kimberly McCollum received the Amy Lenk Staff Excellence Award.

The awards were presented during the monthly faculty meeting in May.

“Laura and Kim both handle a wide variety of roles at the School with utter dedication,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism. “Together, they demonstrate how excellence from our faculty and staff — and from the student body they support in different ways — makes this School the finest in the world.”

Laura Johnston — O.O. McIntyre Professorship for Teaching Excellence

Laura Johnston
Laura Johnston

Johnston is the course coordinator for J-1300 — the School’s introductory writing class — and has spent 18 years in editing roles at the School’s community newspaper, the Columbia Missourian, where she currently serves as the opinion editor.

“This is a really humbling honor,” Johnston said. “It’s good to know that your colleagues think highly of you, and looking back at the list of past winners, it feels great to be a part of that group.”

The week before Johnston learned she had won the McIntyre Professorship, she received word that she had been promoted to a full professor in yet another sign of the impact she has had on students through her myriad responsibilities. Less than a year ago, she also won the 2022 MU Connect Champions Award in recognition of her outstanding use of the “early alert” student success application known as MU Connect.

“I feel like I have really settled into my skin,” she said. “I feel pretty good as a teacher.”

Despite Johnston’s many duties, colleagues said she manages to regularly make time to help others.

“She is often spotted meeting with students, and she is someone who excels in the classroom and in the organizational endeavors that are a needed part of the job,” one nominator said.

Another was even more effusive:

“Her efforts for the school seem limitless.”

Johnston receives a $10,000 stipend for the next academic year with the McIntyre Professorship, which is named for O.O. McIntyre, one of the most widely known columnists during the 1920s and 1930s. His column, “New York Day by Day,” was syndicated to 508 newspapers in every state, Canada and Mexico. McIntyre died in 1938, and his widow left part of his estate to the Missouri School of Journalism. In her will, she established the O.O. McIntyre Postgraduate Writing Fellowship to help aspiring writers and the O.O. McIntyre Professorship to recognize outstanding educators.

Kimberly McCollum — Amy Lenk Staff Excellence Award

Kimberly McCollum
Kimberly McCollum

McCollum has worked at Mizzou for 15 years, 11 of those as an administrative assistant in the journalism studies department. She has numerous responsibilities across the School, including financial duties for the department, support for the undergraduate advising office, coordinating campus visits from television companies seeking to hire students, and helping out with important events like graduation and Kappa Tau Alpha ceremonies (KTA is the School’s honor society).

“When the dean said my name, my jaw dropped and I was like, this is really happening,” said McCollum, who had been nominated for the award a few times before. “It’s nice to be noticed, to have people take note of dedication and loyalty.”

Originally from Centralia, McCollum said she has found a supportive community of colleagues at the School of Journalism.

“The people I work with — and for — are some of the greatest people I’ve worked with in all my time at the university,” she said.

It’s evident that her coworkers feel the same way about her.

“She is one of the most committed staff members I have worked with in the School of Journalism,” said her nominator. “Her demeanor while interacting with others shows she values everyone — student, staff, faculty, parent or alum — and sincerely wants to solve their problem.”

McCollum’s long-term dedication to the School has meant that her colleagues value not only the earnestness of her assistance but the hands-on experience she brings to the table.

“Kim is…one of the longest-serving staff members in the School of Journalism,” the nominator added, noting that this has “placed Kim in the position of holding a lot of institutional knowledge.”

The Amy Lenk Award comes with a $500 prize and is presented to staff members who demonstrate exceptional professionalism, initiative and creativity. Formerly known as the Pat on the Back Award, it was renamed in 2009 in honor of Amy Lenk, who retired that year after 35 years of service with the School. The recognition is underwritten by the Hogle School of Journalism Endowment Fund, created by a gift from the estate of Wilma L. Hogle, BJ ’46.

Past Winners of the O.O. McIntyre Professorship

  • 2022: Yong Volz
  • 2021: Holly Higginbotham
  • 2020: Amanda Hinnant
  • 2019: Jeanne Abbott
  • 2018: Margaret Duffy
  • 2017: Elizabeth Brixey
  • 2016: Jennifer Rowe
  • 2015: Earnest Perry
  • 2014: Rita Reed
  • 2013: John Schneller
  • 2012: Mary Kay Blakely
  • 2011: Jackie Bell
  • 2010: Glenn Leshner
  • 2009: Betty Winfield
  • 2008: Brian Brooks
  • 2007: Stacey Woelfel
  • 2006: Steve Weinberg
  • 2005: Lynda Kraxberger
  • 2004: David Rees
  • 2003: Jan Colbert
  • 2002: Byron Scott
  • 2001: Sandy Davidson
  • 2000: Zoe Smith
  • 1999: Mike McKean
  • 1998: Ron Naeger
  • 1997: Lee Wilkins
  • 1996: George Kennedy
  • 1995: Don Ranly
  • 1994: Daryl Moen
  • 1993: Keith Sanders
  • 1992: Won Chang
  • 1991: Rod Gelatt
  • 1990: Ed Lambeth
  • 1989: Dale Spencer
  • 1988: Paul Fisher
  • 1987: Ernest Morgan

Past Winners of the Amy Lenk Award

  • 2022: Kristina Bradley
  • 2021: Lamar Henderson
  • 2020: Tami Custard
  • 2019: LaDora Rogers
  • 2018: Ernest Zhang
  • 2017: Cheryl Spang
  • 2016: Nancy Stockett
  • 2015: John Meyer
  • 2014: Shubhaga Jalisatgi
  • 2013: Warren Mayer
  • 2012: Cheri Cherry
  • 2011: Sarah Smith-Frigerio
  • 2010: Pat Muck
  • 2009: Nina Johnson
  • 2008: Elizabeth Hardt
  • 2007: Colin Kilpatrick
  • 2006: Justin Giles
  • 2005: Kathleen Edwards
  • 2004: Anita Ryan
  • 2003: Kimberly Townlain
  • 2002: Helen Pattrin
  • 2001: Pat Cloyd
  • 2000: Sue Schuermann
  • 1999: Barbara Gilpin
  • 1998: Marcia Easley
  • 1997: Martha Pickens
  • 1996: Kathy Sharp
  • 1995: Lisa Barnes
  • 1994: Noor Azizan-Gardner
  • 1993: Amy Lenk
  • 1992 Doris Barnhart
  • 1991: Rhonda Fallon

Updated: March 11, 2024

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