Alumni honored by Journalism Department

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The Journalism Department has selected four outstanding alumni for recognition at the 2001 Journalism Alumni Banquet tonight.Becky Lott Rao, Frank Q. Dobbs, Jack Shaeridan and Kristie Watthuber are being honored as distinguished alumni because each enjoyed great success with the degrees they earned at Sam Houston State University, and the Journalism Advisory Board considers them good examples to current students of what can be achieved with a SHSU degree. Becky Lott Rao, Class of 1971Becky Lott Rao attended SHSU from June 1968 to December 1970, graduating with a B.A. degree in education and double majoring in Journalism and English. Becky met her husband, Kailas, while attending SHSU. After getting married in December 1970, the two moved to Norman, Oklahoma where Becky earned a Masters degree in education while working full-time as an administrative assistant for the municipal court judge of Norman. Becky completed her degree in 1974 and started working at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She served as an administrative assistant to the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and then spent the next 10 years as the Graduate Program Specialist in UMW’s School of Nursing. She achieved a unanimous tenure vote in her seventh year of service at UMW.In 1985 Becky left UMW to become vice president in Kailas’ personal computer retail business. The Rao’s computer business started as four retail stores in the Milwaukee area and grew to a national franchise called Computer Bay. Before selling their business in 1992, Computer Bay served over 350 franchises in 44 states and Canada.Rao served on boards of several civic organizations specializing in historic preservation and the performing arts. Becky also served as the secretary for the board of directors of Industar Digital PCS and for a telecommunications business specializing in personal cellular phone service.After retiring, Becky has been actively involved in training and showing her Brittanies. Three of her Brittanies have earned a total of seven American Kennel Club championships and titles. Becky has been a member of the Greater Milwaukee Brittany Club and the American Brittany Club since 1968. She has also been the editor and publisher of the GMAC monthly official newsletter for 15 years and serves as the American Kennel Club’s public education coordinator and legislative liaison to the GMBC.Becky’s other passions include her three Appaloosas, which participate in the Appaloosa horse shows. She is a member of the American Appaloosa Horse Association, and just recently joined the Canadian Appaloosa Horse Association. Becky continues to assist Kailas in the administration of their philanthropic endeavors, including the disbursement of 28 college scholarships given annually to recipients chosen from Magnolia High School, SHSU, Angelo State University and the University of Oklahoma.

Frank Q. Dobbs, Class of 1961″Dead Man’s Walk,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and “Gone to Texas,” are just a few of Frank Q. Dobbs works. In the 30 years of Dobbs’ television and film career he has earned more than 50 honors including 12 Cine Golden Eagles in recognition of documentary and informational projects and two Emmys.Although Dobbs has received several prestigious awards for his visual work, he ironically began his career as a print journalist. Two weeks after graduating from SHSU Dobbs took on the challenge of editing The Conroe Daily Courier.Just as Dobbs’ professional life was taking off he was unexpectedly called on by the United States Army to serve as the military technical advisor on a Universal Studios feature film, ” Captain Newman, M.D.” Dobbs sudden opportunity led him to his first television job as news anchor and eventually to special projects such as the director for Houston’s NBC affiliate, KPRC. As Dobbs conquered the art of the news he began writing television dramas and sold two one- hour episodes of the CBS show “Gunsmoke.”In recent years Dobbs has divided his time between feature films, television dramas, documentaries, and informational films, which have taken place in 26 countries on five continents. Dobbs acquires his greatest satisfaction from documentary work. One such documentary, ” Thinkin About Thinkin,” won Dobbs a New York Film Festival silver medal.Recording the capture of rare birds in the foothills of the Andes and living among the Lacondon Indians of Mexico merely outlines the exceptional talent of Mr. Dobbs. His documentary skills extended to a project in the Venezuelan rainforest when he filmed the wildlife recovery in Alaska’s Prince William Sound following the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. Other documentaries include ” The Great River Road,” which won Best Show at the Milan Festival and ” Passage to Prudhoe,” that awarded Dobbs the National Press Photographers News Film Cameraman of the Year. Creating rewarding films, television dramas and documentaries is a handful of ways Dobbs remains involved in the artistic world of journalism. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, and is a principal advisor to the Texas Film Commission. Dobbs has also served as an officer to The International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers, juror and guest lecturer at the Worldfest-Flaggstaff, and the Crested Butte Short Film Festival.Dobbs has proved to be an outstanding and artistic professional in the documentary, film, and television worlds. His active participation in various lectures and media organizations reveals Dobbs’ commitment to and promotion of all aspects of the journalistic business.

Jack Shaeridan, Class of 1971Jack Sheridan spent six years as a reporter for Houston daily newspapers, The Houston Press and The Houston Post, before joining the Petroleum & Minerals Group of Dresser Industries. For Dresser he was responsible for all of the technical writing and trade media relations, later becoming Manager of Advertising and Public Relations for four of Dresser’s Houston-based divisions. Following his tenure at Dresser he joined the public relations staff of Goodwin, Dannenbaum, Littman & Wingfield, at that time Houston’s largest independent advertising agency. After two years at GDL&W he was promoted to Manager of the Public Relations Department and during that same year was recruited by Hill & Knowlton, Inc. to establish a Houston office for the international public relations firm. After two years with H&K, Sheridan became a self-employed public relations consultant and is still employed in that capacity today. He has provided public relations services for about 80 companies, including the British Caledonian Airways, DuPont, Pennzoil, 3D/International, Inc., First Interstate Bank, American Express, Bridge Harbor Yacht Club and International Demographics, Inc.

Kristie Watthuber, Class of 1991Kristie Watthuber began her professional career while still attending SHSU, by working as a reporter for the Huntsville Item and later as the editor of The Houstonian. After graduation, she joined the Waco Tribune-Herald in October 1991, working as the religion editor, police and the general assignments staff writer.In 1995, Kristie worked as the Staff writer and copy editor for a community newspaper in Alvin. In 1996, she began working for The Texas City Sun, first as a staff writer, then religion editor and later as assistant managing editor.After being the managing editor of the Baytown Sun in 1998, she joined the Houston Chronicle’s This Week department as editor of three of the Chronicle’s 19 neighborhood sections.In November 2000, Watthuber began working for Financial Times Energy as the markets reporter covering electricity markets in the Northeast and western U.S. She recently accepted a position as a petroleum markets reporter for Platts Global Energy publications, a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill. Along the way, she received a Texas Press Association Feature Writing award, a Texas State Teachers Association School Bell award and the 1995 Texas PTA Phoebe award. She currently lives near Clear Lake with her husband and 5-year-old son.