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Five alumni recognized with Reed College of Media awards

Each year the Reed College of Media seeks nominations and presents alumni awards, including those that recognize lifetime achievement, philanthropic support, service to the College, and demonstrated success within the first 10 years post-graduation. This year’s recipients were recognized at the WVU Reed College of Media’s Spring Honors Ceremony on April 26. The 2023–24 awardees include Shelly Poe (BSJ, 1985), Jacelyn Swenson (BSJ, 1981), Col. Tom Boyd (BSJ, 1971), Joe Webb (BSJ, 1990) and Jennifer Clarke (BSJ, 2015).

The most prestigious alumni award is the P.I. Reed Achievement Award, which was created in 1966 to recognize outstanding professional achievements. This year’s recipients are Shelly Poe and Jacelyn Swenson.

Shelly Poe

Shelly Poe is a Morgantown native who attended WVU as a National Merit Scholar and worked as a student assistant in sports information. Upon graduation, she was named an assistant sports information director for WVU and was promoted to director three years later, becoming the youngest Division I sports information director in the country and the only female director at a D-I football school. She is now the assistant athletic director for communications at Auburn University. During her four-decade career in college athletics, Poe has promoted 25 postseason football teams, 18 All-Americans and finalists for many national awards. She was the third woman to serve as the president of the College Sports Information Directors of America (2013) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. She has also received that organization’s Trailblazer, Arch Ward and President’s awards, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Football Writers Association of America.

Jacelyn Swenson

Jacelyn Swenson is a creative and analytical marketing and communications executive, who has led strategic initiatives, raised brand awareness and managed global teams in corporate, nonprofit and agency environments. In 2022, she retired from her role as leader of strategic partnerships and events for IBM Corporate Communications, where she collaborated with strategic partners and marketing, media, events and communications teams across the business. While on the IBM Corporate Marketing team, she led global brand programs and created social, digital and immersive experiences to make the brand more relevant and engaging with its stakeholders. She also served on the IBM Women’s Executive Council. Prior to joining IBM, Swenson held several marketing and communications leadership positions at General Electric. Swenson serves in various volunteer capacities, including on the Reed College of Media Visiting Committee and the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation Board, where she chairs the communications committee. She also represents the chief of naval operations during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery.

Col. Tom Boyd

Col. Tom Boyd is this year’s winner of the Friend of the College Award, which was established in honor of the late Professor Emeritus Paul A. Atkins to recognize individuals for their exemplary support and commitment to the Reed College of Media. Throughout his career, Boyd worked with U.S. and international news media, directed crisis communications, performed strategic communication planning, and conducted media training, employee communication, community relations, organizational management, planning and budgeting. He has been a long-time supporter of the Reed College of Media, serving nearly a decade on the Visiting Committee, including chairing it from 2020-2023, and connecting the College to the Defense Information School, which led to a dedicated student cohort in WVU’s online Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program. In addition to other important gifts over the years, Boyd recently created the College of Media’s first faculty fellowship fund, which will provide two faculty members with a monetary award each year to help support their research, creative and pedagogical pursuits.

Joe Webb

Joe Webb received the Commitment to Service Award, which was established in honor of Professor Emeritus Dr. Ivan Pinnell and recognizes those who have shown a dedication of time, energy and passion for our programs. Webb is the director of WVU University Relations--Video, and he also works as a freelance sports television camera operator for live broadcasts for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the ESPN family of networks and WVRC Media. In 1990, Webb began helping former professor--now Provost--Maryanne Reed with student newscasts in the old Martin Hall studio. In 2001, a strategic partnership was created to relocate the student productions into the Waterfront Place studio. In addition to helping the College with accreditation preparations and student tours of the studio, Webb has been collaborating for more than 23 years with Teaching Professor Gina Dahlia to support the taping of all three of the College’s award-winning student television productions: “WVU News,” “Mountaineer Playbook,” and “West Virginia Today.”

Jennifer Clarke

Jennifer Clarke received the Young Alumna Award, which is given to an individual who has graduated within the last 10 years and has excelled professionally. Clarke is the director of NBA Hospitality and Workplace Operations in New York City, where she oversees the logistics of office events, receptions and catering. She oversees the daily high-level service and coordination for the NBA Commissioner’s office in New York and provides on-site support at NBA All-Star events. She also serves as the ambassador at marquee events, including the 2022 Global Games in Tokyo, 2023 Global Games in Mexico City and 2024 Global Games in Paris. In 2021, Clarke won the Commissioner’s Award for her work on the Venue Environmental Support System, a first-of-its-kind, industry-leading environmental monitoring system developed by the NBA Facilities team.

"It is an honor to be able to recognize these incredible alumni who’ve made significant contributions to WVU, our College and professions,” Dean Diana Martinelli said. “This year’s awardees model the curiosity, dedication and drive that we hope to instill in all students who come through the Reed College of Media.”

For a full list of alumni awardees or to make nominations, which are accepted year-round, visit https://mediacollege.wvu.edu/alumni/alumni-and-friends-awards.