St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

St. Bonaventure honors alumni Nelson, Gravius and ESPN’s Wojnarowski at Hellinger Awards luncheon

Oct 11, 2019

The Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University honored three alumni at its 2019 Mark Hellinger Awards luncheon Monday, Oct. 7, at Hearst Tower in Manhattan.

The School of Communication recognized 2019 Mark Hellinger Award winner Michael Clare Nelson and runner-up Christian Gravius. Honored at the event as the Jandoli School Alumnus of the Year was Adrian Wojnarowski, Class of 1991, who covers the NBA for ESPN.

The celebration also featured a keynote talk by Dan Barry, New York Times reporter and columnist, and a 1980 graduate of St. Bonaventure.

Michael Clare Nelson of Newport News, Virginia, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in environmental studies in 2019.

While at St. Bonaventure, her personal experience recovering from an eating disorder led her to report on and write about mental health and body image issues. In her blog, “The Mind Comes Too,” she explores the nuances of eating disorders and their impacts on friends, family and self.

She sharpened what she learned in the classroom by contributing significantly to TAPinto Greater Olean, a local news site directed by Dr. Rich Lee and lecturer Anne Lee.

A natural sense of adventure, devotion to service and love of cycling moved Michael to participate in a cross-country cycling trip with Bike and Build during the summer of 2018. Bike and Build is an organization devoted to raising awareness of the need for affordable housing. As part of that program, Michael rode 4,000 miles coast to coast with 23 other riders and helped build 11 homes with local affordable housing groups.

A love of mental, physical, and social health motivated Nelson to pursue a master’s degree in health and medical journalism at the University of Georgia.

Christian Gravius, a 2019 St. Bonaventure graduate, majored in journalism and minored in English.

Gravius spent his undergraduate career covering high school sports for the Olean Times Herald, and worked as the marketing intern at the world’s largest YMCA — YMCA of the Rockies — in Estes Park, Colorado.

He covered St. Bonaventure in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Dallas, and won the top award in the 2018 Jim Murray Memorial Foundation essay competition for his piece about a former teammate’s running career before and after a life-changing accident.

Gravius spent this past summer in Phoenix, Arizona, investigating federal disaster relief as a fellow with the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national multimedia reporting project produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates.

A former member of the Bonnies cross country and track team, Gravius is pursuing a master’s degree in sports and recreation administration at South Dakota State University while serving as the sports information graduate assistant.

ESPN’s NBA Insider Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski has long been considered the most dominant force in reporting on the National Basketball Association. So frequent and accurate are his NBA scoops that they have their own name: Woj Bombs.

Woj joined ESPN in 2017 after nearly 10 years at Yahoo Sports. In 2017, he became the first ESPN media member to be named National Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. He followed that up with a repeat win of the award in 2018, becoming only the 10th person to be honored in consecutive years in the six decades the award has been handed out.

Before joining Yahoo, Woj wrote for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.), Fresno Bee and Waterbury Republican-American. He is a two-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors’ Columnist of the Year award.

A member of SBU’s Class of 1991, Woj is also the author of “The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty,” a New York Times best-seller published in 2006.

The university has bestowed the Hellinger Award, honoring the school’s top students, since 1961. Since 1981, the Hellinger Award Ceremony has also honored the Jandoli School’s Alumni of the Year.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.