Thursday, October 20, 2011

Audra Burch is the 2011 Recipient of the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumnus Award

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) announces that Audra D.S. Burch is the 2011 recipient of the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The award will be presented to Burch at the school’s annual Grads are Back Luncheon, Thursday, Oct. 6 at 12:30 p.m. in the SJGC Gallery.

Burch is an award-winning and enterprise writer for the Miami Herald.  She has been nominated three times for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and she was part of a team that published a book on hurricanes.

“We are so proud of Audra’s professional accomplishments,” James Hawkins, SJGC dean, said.  “Anyone who knows Audra knows her commitment to journalistic excellence.”

The 1988 graduate currently writes on a range of stories for the Miami Herald.  Most recently, she covered the Casey Anthony murder trial and wrote stories on prescriptive drug abuse in Florida.

Burch launched her career at the Post Tribune in Gary, Ind.  There she covered police, county government and legal affairs.  She then joined the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and was on a two-person team that won several national awards for a series exposing menu fraud at South Florida restaurants.

“The Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumnus Award bears the name of FAMU’s first instructor of journalism—Thelma Gorham,” Hawkins said.  “The award is given to an alumnus who has excelled professionally and demonstrated a commitment to giving back to the University.”

Burch is a former deputy regional director of the National Association of Black Journalists Association.  She chaired the NABJ Region IV conference in 1999 and she is a former president of the Palm Beach chapter.  Over the years, she has mentored numerous aspiring journalists and has served as a teacher/coach at several FAMU summer journalism programs.

She lives with her husband in Hollywood, Fla.

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