AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s [Kappa Tau Alpha chapter]() has a new moniker: The Michael Bugeja Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha at Iowa State University. The chapter's faculty leaders announced it would now bear the name of the outgoing Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication director at the initiation ceremony on May 5.
Kappa Tau Alpha is the national academic honor society for journalism and mass communication. Only the top 10 percent of graduate students and undergraduate seniors in advertising, public relations and journalism and mass communication earn invitations to become members of the Iowa State University chapter.
The society’s basic aim is a high level of professional and scholarly aspiration and achievement and its guiding principles are knowledge, truth and accuracy. Bugeja, a member of the society, has upheld these standards through his leadership at the Greenlee School, said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in a letter written to the national organization and read aloud at the ceremony.
“As director, he created a climate within the Greenlee School in which students, faculty and staff can demonstrate their top performance,” Schmittmann said. “They work to create and sustain a welcoming and collegial environment that values diversity, excellent teaching and strong scholarship.”
Bugeja is stepping down from his directorial role this summer after 14 years and will continue teaching as a member of the Greenlee faculty. He said the honor is especially meaningful because it comes from his colleagues, who initiated and voted on the request.
“The KTA motto ‘The Truth Will Prevail,’ is so fitting for the ethics that we and our students must practice as journalists and communicators. Our [ACEJMC accreditation](() and now [PRSA certification]((/2017/05/19/3227-revision-v1/) remind us of that on a daily basis,” Bugeja said.
Raluca Cozma, associate professor and outgoing adviser of the Iowa State chapter, said only about a quarter of KTA chapters across the county are named after distinguished colleagues in their respective journalism units. She proposed the name change to the faculty along with Tracy Lucht, associate professor, treasurer and incoming adviser of the chapter, and Michael Dahlstrom, associate director, associate professor and president of the chapter. The proposal received overwhelming support.
“Knowing of Michael Bugeja’s plan to step down as director and, as he likes to say, step up as faculty member, I thought that he would be the ideal candidate for the honor, given his dedication to the school and to the ideals of Kappa Tau Alpha,” Cozma said. “Through his fundraising, he made it possible for our chapter to cover membership fees for our student initiates. Very few chapters around the country do that. As a media ethicist, Michael instills appreciation of truth, accuracy and transparency in both the classroom and the boardroom.
“I would like to thank Michael for his lasting positive impact on the Greenlee School and for his commitment to the central tenets of Kappa Tau Alpha, “Knowledge, Truth, Accuracy,” she said.
Eleven Greenlee students were honored at this year’s ceremony during the school’s annual graduation brunch. They are: Omokhoya Maria Abalu of Abuja, Nigeria; Jake Christensen of Jefferson, Iowa; Brooke Erin Engelstad of Ankeny, Iowa; Nicole Friesema of Elgin, Ill.; Zachary Gourley of Ames; Kevin Joseph Horner of Shorewood, Minn.; Bethany Cheryl Lozier of St. Louis; Keaton Anthony Mohr of Tipton, Iowa; Traer Schon of Glidden, Iowa; Caire Smith of Belmond, Iowa; and Alexa Lynn Weber of Larkspur, Colo.
Initiates receive lifetime membership, a certificate, pin and cord and take a pledge to raise standards in the fields of advertising and mass communication, make study and learning a lifelong obligation, acknowledge that industry and alertness are the marks of their calling and continually strive to improve the media by dedicating themselves to the highest ideals of journalism and mass communication.