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Cameron claims 15 awards in OCPRA contest

After claiming a record 14 awards in 2022, Cameron University’s Office of Public Affairs topped that effort this year by winning 15 awards in the Oklahoma College Public Relations Association’s 31st awards competition. Winners were announced at OCPRA’s annual summer conference, held earlier this month in Quapaw.

Thirty-nine departments from most Oklahoma higher education institutions submitted 523 entries in 40 categories this year. Higher ed public relations professionals from outside the state served as judges alongside private industry professionals.

“There were 100 more entries in this year’s contest than last year, and that makes for really tough competition,” said Keith Mitchell, CU senior director of public affairs. “I was really proud of my department’s work over the past year, and it’s satisfying to see that effort recognized by peer institutions.”

Staff earned grand awards in three contest categories. In the “square peg” category, Mitchell and Alex Zakharchenko were recognized for their social media video project, “How to do the Pickaxe in 5 Easy Steps.” John Kindred was recognized in two categories – his promotional poster, “General Partnerships with Native American Nations” for a CU business forum, took the top prize in general poster design, while his digital ad promoting a film lecture titled, “Forget it Jake, It’s Chinatown: Second-Wave Film Noir,” was honored in print or digital advertisement. All three entries were eligible for Best of Show consideration.

CU earned excellence awards in four categories. The Spring 2023 issue of Cameron Magazine claimed the award for cover design, and “Soiree XIV: Baroque Jewels” was recognized in cultural and fine arts poster design. Both were created by Kindred. Matt Howell’s webpage for CU’s Information Technology Services was honored for web design. In the human interest category of the full-length feature division, “Marcus Natta: Ensuring His Father’s Legacy,” a story featuring a CU alumnus written by Janet E. Williams, claimed an excellence award.

Cameron earned four achievement awards. A Cameron Magazine article, “Safe at Home,” about the recovery and return of a century-old safe that once belonged to the university, earned Mitchell recognition for best headline. He received another award for “Making it in the Big Leagues – Change in Degree Path Led Richards to Fulfilling Career with the Texas Rangers,” a full-length feature in the human interest category. Kindred claimed achievement awards for the CU Graduate Studies Viewbook and in sports poster design for “CU Competitive: Baseball & MBA” featuring student-athlete Kalen Haynes.

Honorable mention was bestowed on four CU entries. Honored were Howell’s redesign of CU’s policies and procedures web page in the before-and-after category; Kindred’s MLK Day 2023 poster in general poster design; Kindred, Mitchell and Zakharchenko for the CU 2023 Ole Kim wall calendar in the square peg category; and public affairs staff members Kindred, Mitchell, Williams, Zakharchenko and Rhonda Young for the Summer 2022 issue of Cameron Magazine.

The CU Office of Public Affairs is responsible for promoting public awareness of the university. It accomplishes this by working with departments across campus to develop branded information materials, coordinate news coverage, and promote events and activities. The office is also charged with writing and designing Cameron Magazine, the university’s alumni publication.

OCPRA provides networking opportunities and professional development for new and seasoned public relations professionals at Oklahoma’s public and private institutions. Membership includes writers, designers, photographers, web developers, social media types, sports information specialists and event managers. The goal of the annual awards ceremony, which began in 1992, is to encourage a healthy spirit of competition while rewarding achievement, recognizing excellence and honoring the creative imagination of professionals who represent higher education to the public utilizing marketing, communication and public relations efforts. Entrants are not required to be members of OCPRA.



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