St. Bonaventure to Honor Six at Hellinger Award

Knight Kiplinger, (pictured) editor in chief of Kiplinger’s magazine and Kiplinger Letters, will be the keynote speaker for the 54th annual Mark Hellinger Awards Ceremony.

The evening offers the opportunity to honor top students and distinguished graduates in St. Bonaventure University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:45 p.m.

The six honorees include Madison Thieman, Mark Hellinger Award recipient; Tate Slaven, Mark Hellinger Award runner-up; Mark Belcher, Buffalo News Entrepreneurial Reporting Award; Lee Coppola, Journalism and Mass Communication Distinguished Graduate; and Steve Lingle and Jerry Lee, Journalism and Mass Communication Alumni of the Year.

Thieman, ’14, joined The Quilted Squirrel as an account executive after graduating from St. Bonaventure in May. During her four years, Thieman dedicated her time to Kwerkworks, The Intrepid, the parent newsletter and SBU-TV. She also worked for Student Ambassadors and the Teaching and Learning Center. Thieman studied abroad at Trinity College in Oxford, England, where she was named “Best Student in Social Media.”

Slaven, ’14, graduated summa cum laude from St. Bonaventure with a degree in journalism and mass communication and a minor in political science. She was a member of the Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha and made the dean's list every semester throughout her college career. Tate lives in Baton Rouge, La., where she is a freelance blogger and runs a health, fitness and wellness business. Slaven hopes to obtain a doctorate degree to become a communications professor.

Belcher, ’14, originally from Brocton, N.Y., took his love for journalism and writing to St. Bonaventure University. He joined The Bona Venture to continue developing his writing skills. He also worked for The Intrepid, SBU-TV and WSBU FM. In his senior year, Belcher joined Kwerkworks, St. Bonaventure’s advertising agency. Upon graduation, Belcher was honored for his reporting and photography. He works part-time for The Quilted Squirrel.

Coppola, ’64, is a Buffalo native. He is a veteran newspaperman, television investigative reporter and federal prosecutor. He retired in August 2011 after serving for 15 years as the first dean of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure.

As a professional journalist, he has won more than 30 local, state and national awards, including the George Polk Award, the National Press Club Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. He served 16 years as an investigative reporter at The Buffalo News, followed by 10 years as an investigative reporter for electronic broadcast media, moving from WKBW-TV Channel 7, Buffalo’s ABC affiliate, to WIVB-TV Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate.

Coppola is a member of the American Arbitration Association and serves as a mediator for the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. He is a frequent speaker on issues concerning journalism and public affairs.

Lingle and Lee, co-founders of the advertising agency The Quilted Squirrel in Hamburg, N.Y., earned degrees in St. Bonaventure’s master’s program in integrated marketing communications where their paths first crossed. Lingle and Lee earned their bachelor’s degrees from SUNY Fredonia and Canisius College, respectively.

Their clientele at The Quilted Squirrel include higher education, manufacturing and financial services. The company’s sole purpose is to be the most creative advertising agency in town. The company has grown in 20 months from two to a staff of nine.

Prior to founding The Quilted Squirrel, Lingle worked in marketing for FedEx Trade Networks, and Lee worked in marketing for Truck-Lite.

Lingle lives in Colden, N.Y., with his wife, Danielle, and their sons, Connor and Brennan. Lee lives in Jamestown, N.Y., with his wife, Carey, and their daughter, Avery.

For information about attending the event, contact Sue Ciesla at or 716-375-2520.

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