St. Bonaventure student Ethan Kibbe didn’t have to look far to find an essay topic for a scholarship competition.
Kibbe's essay not only earned him one of five scholarships awarded by the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, but it gave him an opportunity to turn a spotlight on mentor and SBU faculty member Paul Wieland.
“To me, it wasn’t coming up with an article that could win, but to write an article that would do him justice. He is such an incredible guy, trying to capture that in 1,000 words is difficult,” said Kibbe.
The scholarship competition guidelines invited college students to write about a person, place or thing that ties into the sporting culture of their university. Kibbe, a journalism and mass communication major at the university, immediately thought of Wieland, a 1959 graduate of SBU who spent a quarter century of his career running the Buffalo Sabres public relations department and coordinating their television broadcasts. For the past 15 years, Wieland has lectured in his alma mater’s School of Communication.
As one of five Murray Scholars selected for 2017 through the foundation’s annual nationwide essay contest, Kibbe will travel to Arcadia, Calif., Sept. 30, to receive the award, a $5,000 scholarship.
“Not only was Ethan one of the top five finalists, he earned the Judges’ Choice Award as the essay with the most points,” said Linda Murray Hofmans, founder and CEO of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.
Kibbe’s selection was another milestone for the foundation — the first time siblings have won the scholarship. Kibbe’s sister Amelia, who graduated from SBU in May, was a 2016 recipient.
“It’s incredibly special to follow in Amelia’s footsteps and win this. That’s the double-edged sword of going to school with siblings. In the journalism program, she set the bar really high. I’ll never be able to cross that, but would like to think I’m within shooting distance,” Kibbe said.
“My professors all taught me how to write. If anyone deserves credit, it’s them,” he said. “Paul has been far more than a professor. He’s more than a teacher. He’s a mentor, a friend,” added Kibbe.
“Ethan has been one of the best and brightest students in the Jandoli School of Communication. He has drive, talent, determination and commitment to our field,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the School of Communication.
“Ethan writes well, is a creative and consistent self-starter, and is able to find stories and draw them out to produce interesting and informative journalism,” added Hoffmann.
Kibbe said he has always wanted to be a broadcaster. Following the mantra that to be a good broadcaster you have to be a good writer, Kibbe dove into writing for The Bona Venture student newspaper, where he worked his way up to sports editor before shifting into broadcast journalism as a reporter, anchor and producer for weekly newscasts with SBU-TV and live television sports production utilizing the university’s broadcast truck.
“To me, there’s nothing like putting on a headset and doing live sports. I prefer television, but I enjoy radio and television. It’s fun to go out and film and do a package, but in those situations you know what’s coming. When you’re doing play-by-play, it’s your job to communicate what’s happening,” he said.
Kibbe immediately thought of Wieland for the essay not only because of his journalism mentorship, but because “he has done an incredible amount for SBU sports,” from coaching the university’s club hockey team to raising the profile of sports such as lacrosse and soccer via live broadcasts.
Kibbe spent last summer in New York City at SiriusXM Radio in an internship he describes as “the most fun I’ve ever had in a job,” working as an assistant producer and board operator on “The Starting Lineup” morning show with Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine.
“The reason I got that internship was Paul. He threw my name out there to the dean,” he said.
“I worked on their show every day. I ran the audio board, ran their promos, and they even got me in on some of the broadcasts. It was an absolute thrill. You didn’t know what would happen next,” he said.
Kibbe grew up in Harrison Valley, Pa., with siblings Steven, ’15; Amelia, ’17; and twin Ellen, ’18; and is a son of Len and Kathy Kibbe, ’79. Captain of the men’s cross country team for the third year, Kibbe also holds a leadership role in the campus chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
He plans to look for a job in broadcasting following graduation in May 2018.
“I really want to do broadcasting, but I’ll go anywhere. I just want to get a job and get established and build off of that. I want to go somewhere and do my best work,” he said.
The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation was founded in 1999 to perpetuate Jim Murray’s legacy and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. St. Bonaventure students have won scholarships in 13 of the 17 years they have been awarded. Joining Kibbe as award winners for 2017 are students from the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Valdosta State University and the University of Kansas. In addition to the student scholars, the foundation will recognize several other honorees Sept. 30, including legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swan and retired play-by-play announcer Bob Miller.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. 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. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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