Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication has named the 2022 recipients of two alumni awards.
Greenlee Professional Achievement Award
Ron Schara (’66 journalism)
Ron Schara Productions, founder
Ron Schara is the recipient of the 2022 Greenlee Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes a Greenlee School graduate who has demonstrated leadership, impact and achievement in advertising, journalism and mass communication and/or public relations.
Schara’s story proves dreams do come true.
After graduation from Iowa State, Schara’s first job was with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks department as editor of the Conservation Digest magazine. Late in 1967, he was asked to join the Minneapolis Tribune as the paper’s first full-time outdoor editor, a post he held for 29 years.
During this time, he was also the co-host of an outdoor radio show on WCCO for more than 10 years, but it was his love of storytelling and dabbling in outdoor television programming that prompted him to create a new television program called Minnesota Bound on the NBC affiliate KARE-TV in 1995. Ron Schara Productions was born. He employed 17 videographers and editors and went on to create other television shows on the Outdoor Channel, ESPN, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, Bally Sports Networks and others.
Schara has received countless regional Emmy awards, numerous writing and television awards and honors from multiple conservation organizations.
A lifetime member of Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Pheasants Forever, he has been inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame and the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame.
He has authored several books, including “Muskie Mania,” “Minnesota Fishing Guide” – which is still in print and has been since 1975 – and “Ron Schara’s Minnesota: Mostly True Tales of a Life Outdoors” was published last year by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Most recently, Schara helped create a statewide fishing organization, known as MN-FISH, to represent anglers in the Minnesota Legislature and DNR fish management. He was elected to serve a second term as president.
His popular Minnesota Bound sidekick, a black Labrador by the name of Raven, helped Pheasants Forever raise more than $1 million to acquire thousands of acres of wildlife habitat. Schara has had three Raven’s over the course of his television years. The latest passed away in 2020.
Schara resides in Minnesota, and you can still catch Minnesota Bound on air along with his other shows: Backroads with Ron and Raven, The Flush, Destination Polaris, and Due North Outdoors.
Greenlee Young Alumni Award
Kelly Howard (‘08 journalism and mass communication)
The recipient of the 2022 Greenlee Young Alumni Award is Kelly Howard. This award recognizes a Greenlee School graduate under 40 years of age or with fewer than 15 years of professional experience who has demonstrated excellence within their field.
An accomplished and passionate public relations professional and strategist, Howard is the CEO of EightSixtySouth, a strategic communications agency operating in both Los Angeles and New York.
Having served as Post + Beam’s west coast director for several years, Howard acquired the company in October 2016, leading the company through a full rebrand – introducing the new EightSixtySouth in 2017.
Howard is a member of the PR Couture Council, a contributor to forbes.com, a member of the Forbes Los Angeles Small Business Council and was named Communicator of the Year during PR Couture’s 2018 Bespoke Communication Awards. She has spoken and conducted sessions at Women in Media Los Angeles, NYU, Simply Stylist, BOSS Talks, The Collective Conference, Savoir Collab’s “Wild Women Series,” California Market Center, NerdyGirl Academy and at Iowa State University, who selected her for the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2020, an award bestowed to only one select individual a year across the entire university.
She has been featured in Forbes, New York Magazine, BondTwenty, IdeaMensch, Mavenly, Brit+Co, Business Insider, VoyageLA, HerCampus and Buzzfeed, among others.
Howard is seasoned in creating targeted approaches for consumer brands in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle markets. Specializing in cross-channel marketing and drawing from expertise in public relations, content strategy and digital, her work builds meaningful and ROI-focused brand experiences for a diverse roster of clients.
Howard has dedicated her time to speak to Iowa State classes and clubs and hires interns from Iowa State. She’s an annual member of the Iowa State University Alumni Association and resides in California.
“Ron Schara and Kelly Howard show us the power of how a personal passion can become the foundation for a transformative media career. They are an inspiration for our students and we are proud to recognize them as our 2022 alumni award recipients,” said Michael Dahlstrom, LAS Dean’s Professor and director of the Greenlee School.
These awards, which were established in collaboration with the Greenlee School Advisory Council, provide avenues for mid- and early-career recognition of Greenlee School alumni. They build upon the school’s longstanding James W. Schwartz Award, the highest award conferred by the school that has traditionally served as a lifetime achievement recognition, and mirror university and college awards for similar achievements.
The recipients of the alumni awards will be recognized at the spring 2022 Greenlee School Advisory Council meeting.
Nominations will be accepted for the 2023 awards starting in this fall.