SRU Office of Communication and Public Affairs captures 30 national awards


March 21, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - One could say it's an embarrassment of riches for Slippery Rock University's Office of Communication and Public Affairs, or simply credit for job very well done. Either way, the office was recently recognized no fewer than 30 times for its work in print, social media, web and video production.

Black History Month poster

The 30 awards, from three organizations, bring UCPA's award total to three dozen, which includes six national Educational Digital Marketing Awards that were secured in January. The EDMAs recognize the best educational websites, digital content, electronic communications, mobile media and social media. Those awards included a silver award for the University's official website,, which for the calendar year, has earned a trio of silver awards and one gold award for design from a quartet of organizations.

The Educational Advertising Awards bestowed 15 awards on UCPA. Higher Education Marketing Report sponsors the awards. This year, more than 2,250 entries were received from more than 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Judges for the Educational Advertising Awards consisted of a national panel of higher education marketers, advertising creative directors, marketing and advertising professionals and the editorial board of Higher Education Marketing Report.

UCPA captured six Gold Awards, including:

-Athletic marketing program, "Football programs," created by Jon Holtz, director of athletic communication.
-Logo, "Homecoming logo," created by Christina Malak, a senior art major and student designer from New Kensington.

Homcoming Logo

-External publication, "The Rock magazine, fall 2017," designed by Sandy Busch, graphic communication director.
-Special event, "2017 Salute to Military and First Responders," created by Aaron Moore, former director of digital design.
-Special promotions, "2017 Performing Arts Series package," created by Malak and Chenoa Gregory, '17.
-Website,, created by Darcy White, director of web communication and development.

A trio of Silver Awards were also earned, including:

-Magazine ad (single), "Accolades," created by Busch.
-Newspaper ad (single), "Dance concert," created by Tyler Sing, a senior art major and student designer from Pittsburgh.
-Special promotions, "2017 Homecoming package," created by Malak.

Performing Arts poster

Additionally, five merit awards were earned, including:

-Magazine ad (single), "By the Numbers," created by Busch.
-Poster, "2017 Black History Month," created by Sing.
-Social media, "Football Signing Day," created by Holtz.
-Special video, "2017 Holiday Video Card," created by White.
-Other, "Thanksgiving Invitation," created by Sing.

The Collegiate Advertising Awards, an elite national program that recognizes today's most talented marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in communications, marketing, advertising and promotions of their schools, sent 13 awards SRU's way, including four gold, six silver and three bronze.

The 2017 CAA program had more than 900 entries from the U.S. representing "a diverse plethora of educational facilities from small community colleges to very large schools and universities."

Judging criteria included creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal. Participant's entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their specific groups and categories.

Holtz and Sing were the big winners, with each taking home a trio of awards.

Holtz captured a pair of golds for athletic game day program design and football signing day graphics, and a silver for football specific program design. Sign took home a gold for his "2017 Black History" poster; a silver for a dance concert newspaper ad; and a bronze for a Thanksgiving dinner invitation.

Magazine cover

Another gold award went to White for SRU's 2017 social media campaign that was part of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education "Mascot Madness" event.

Other silver awards went to White for the SRU official website (website design); Malak for the Homecoming logo (logos/trademarks/mascots); Malak and Gregory for the Performing Arts package (specialty events); and Mike Schnelle, digital design director, for his Rock football action shot, "Out of the Tunnel" (photo/illustration - single).

Bronze awards went to Busch for "Numbers" (magazine advertising) and Moore for the "Super Experience" (web billboard design - single) composite that accompanied the web story of Katrina Fissore, a senior communication integrated marketing major from Saxonburg, who worked the sidelines of Super Bowl LI for FOX Sports.

UCPA's final pair of awards came courtesy of CUPRAP, the creative excellence in marketing and communications organization, as part of its annual awards competition.

Both awards came via the organization's print category, with a gold and silver in the "poster" division. The silver was presented for the "2017 Black History Month" piece created by Sing, while the gold was earned for a "History Series On ... Food" piece created by Busch.

CUPRAP received more than 490 entries in 35 categories from colleges, universities and providers of private, specialized and secondary education in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |