By University Communications
BOONE, N.C.—Jane Nicholson of Boone was presented with the College News Association of the Carolinas’ (CNAC) H. Lewis Gaston Award for outstanding service March 6.
The H. Lewis Gaston Award is named in honor of a former CNAC president who passed away in 1973. According to CNAC board member Noel Manning of Gardner-Webb University, the award is presented for outstanding service to CNAC and for accomplishments in higher education public relations, communications or marketing. Recipients, said Manning, are “industry leaders who exemplify Gaston’s beliefs that experience, quality, integrity and judgment are the cornerstones upon which the profession has been built.”
From 1990 until her retirement in April 2016, Nicholson worked in public information at Appalachian State University, directing the university’s news bureau and serving as the primary contact for news media across the state and region. Nicholson also managed emergency communications for the university. She earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina Asheville in 1976 and a M.A. from Appalachian in 1995.
Presenting the award, Manning said, “Jane’s reputation for building, maintaining and strengthening relationships in every corner of her life is not just something she did because it was her job. For Jane, it was about getting to really know people at a personal level, caring about them and appreciating the differences that make us all human. Jane understands that wonderful and meaningful relationships are not just the key to success in what we do each day in our field, but in many ways, it is how we succeed in life.”
Accepting the award before a standing ovation, Nicholson said she was honored to receive praise from her peers. “It’s even more meaningful,” she said, “as this award is named for a professional who was news bureau director at Appalachian from 1969 to 1973 when he was killed in a motorcycle accident.”
Nicholson spoke of the profession she worked in for 26 years. “We have shared frustrations related to the changing news and college communications environment and we have celebrated each other’s professional and personal accomplishments,” she said. “There are the countless news and magazine articles we all have written about how the opportunity to earn a degree has changed a first-generation college student’s life. And then there are days like today when you are honored by your peers. And for that, I thank you.”
The award was presented at the annual CNAC conference, held March 5-7 in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.