David Lanzillo, a communications executive with First Niagara Financial Group, will be the keynote speaker Friday, Sept. 21, at the 52nd annual Mark Hellinger Awards, honoring the top students in St. Bonaventure University’s journalism program.
This year’s event honors Shannon Shepherd, class of 2012, a sports reporter/anchor at WSAW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Wausau, Wisc. Tyler Diedrich, ’12, will also be recognized as the Hellinger runner-up.
To be held at Premier Banquet Center in Olean, the reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person, or $320 to sponsor a table of eight; they can be purchased online at www.sbu.edu/hellinger. Sponsorship includes recognition in the program.
Students interested in attending the event are eligible for tickets. A notice with further ticket information will be sent to students.
Also honored will be Bryan Jackson, ’12, winner of the Buffalo News Entrepreneurial Reporting Award, and John Hanchette, ’64, the Alumnus of the Year of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Hanchette, a Puliter Prize-winning reporter, retired in May after teaching 10 years in the Jandoli School.
Lanzillo, senior vice president for corporate communications at First Niagara, is a communications executive with nearly 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising, and corporate communications, A 1984 alumnus, he is responsible for overseeing First Niagara’s corporate media relations, internal and executive communication, community relations and social media strategy.
He joined First Niagara in 2011 from Eastman Kodak Company, where he was chief global media strategist and spokesperson during much of the company’s historic business transformation. He’s also worked at World Kitchen Inc. and Corning Inc.
Lanzillo and his wife, Jackie, ’84, live in the Rochester suburb of Victor. Their daughter, Victoria, is a sophomore at St. Bonaventure, double-majoring in theater and journalism and mass communication.
Shepherd’s love of St. Bonaventure basketball, the guidance of instructor Paul Wieland, and the availability of a remote TV production course allowed her to hone her skills in writing and live reporting. By her junior year, she was the primary men’s basketball sideline reporter and women’s basketball color commentator for SBU-TV Sports.
As a senior, Shepherd created a gobonnies.com mini-series called “Out of Bounds with Shannon Shepherd,” featuring video profiles of athletes from every St. Bonaventure sport. Shepherd also partnered with the Athletics Department and created highlight packages after basketball games and traveled to many road games, including the men’s and women’s Atlantic 10 Championships and their NCAA Tournament games.
Shepherd also interned with sports departments at network TV affiliates in Buffalo and Washington, D.C.
Shepherd received the Bob Koop Award for Broadcasting Excellence along with the Hellinger Award at graduation in May, and on Sept. 20 will accept the Tim Russert Medal of Merit from the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, the third straight year a St. Bonaventure student has won the award.
Shepherd is a native of Ashburn, Va., but has deep roots in Western New York. Much of her family lives in Angola and she has spent many summers on the shores of Lake Erie working at her family’s restaurant, Connors Hot Dog Stand. She is the 22nd member of her extended family to graduate from St. Bonaventure.
Diedrich, now a news producer at WHAM-TV in Rochester, spent five semesters as an editor at The Bona Venture, including three in its sports department and the last as editor in chief. He also worked three semesters for SBU-TV’s news and sports programs, serving as a reporter, producer, anchor and basketball play-by-play announcer.
The Hilton native became St. Bonaventure’s ninth Jim Murray Scholar in 2011 after a profile on his adviser, Paul Wieland, earned him one of five national $5,000 scholarships. He won the 2012 Jandoli Award at May graduation and earned honorable mention to Shepherd for the Koop Award.
A member of Kappa Tau Alpha and Phi Eta Sigma national honor societies, Diedrich interned with the Buffalo Bills in 2010 and WROC-TV in Rochester in 2011.
For more information about the event, contact Sue Ciesla at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-375-2520.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.