The annual Hellinger Awards Ceremony honors the Jandoli School's top graduates and recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding alumni.
The Hellinger Award is named for Mark John Hellinger, an American journalist, theater columnist and film producer. It was established in 1960 by Jim Bishop, who worked with Hellinger at the New York Daily News and considered him his mentor.
Bishop would go on to establish his own fame as a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in hundreds of newspapers across the country, and as a best-selling author. Among Bishop's many works is "The Mark Hellinger Story: A Biography of Broadway and Hollywood."
Bishop began a long relationship with St. Bonaventure in 1958 when he was invited to speak at the university's Press Day event and was awarded an honorary doctorate. Soon afterward, Bishop began donating manuscripts and notebooks to form an archives of his writings at the university's Friedsam Memorial Library.
Cameron Hurst, a December 2019 graduate who completed a double major in journalism and music, is the recipient of the 2020 Mark Hellinger Award. Hurst served numerous internships while attending SBU, accumulating hundreds of hours of on-the-job experience as a working journalist.
Layne Dowdall, a journalism and environmental studies major, graduated in May of 2020, She, too, served numerous internships as a writer and photojournalist while attending SBU, while earning an investigative reporting fellowship through Arizona State University.
The annual Hellinger Awards Ceremony is also an occasion for the Jandoli School to celebrate an alumnus of the year, and this year's honoree is 2010 SBU graduate Charlie Specht, chief investigative reporter for WKBW-TV, the ABC News affiliate in Buffalo.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurst, Dowdall and Specht were honored in a small, private ceremony at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y.