Our debt to Student Publications alumni is monumental. You've been returning to the
campus as often as possible and have helped maintain a long-standing tradition, the
annual Homecoming breakfast, for more than six decades. The 64th annual Student Publications Homecoming Breakfast was Nov. 8 at the Carroll
Knicely Center on WKU's South Campus.
When the possibility for Student Publications to have its own building surfaced, more than 200 alums pledged and donated more than $1 million. The result was the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center, a $1.6 million, state-of-the-art multimedia facility that opened in January 2008 as a joint venture between the Student Publications Alumni Association and WKU.
Adams-Whitaker, named for Bob "Mr. A" Adams and the late David B. "Boss" Whitaker, gives students a place where they can hone their skills and produce award-winning publications that serve WKU students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Throughout the year, but especially around Homecoming, alumni are frequent visitors to Adams-Whitaker. The staff of Student Publications as well as the students on the Herald and the Talisman enjoy showing people around the building and take great pride in the professional environment that alumni generosity made possible.
Publications alumni are scattered across the country and around the world. Many are still working in publications-related fields; many are not. But everyone has the common bond of having worked on the Herald or the Talisman.
2014 HERALD AWARD
for outstanding contributions to journalism
Rick Loomis has been a photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times for more than 20 years. He graduated from WKU with a BA in photojournalism and a minor in Latin American studies.
Loomis’ work runs the gamut of daily newspaper assignments, but two major themes – the environment and world conflict – have defined his career.
In 2007, Loomis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for a year-long project that documented the ills of the planet’s oceans. He took readers into some of the world’s most pristine, isolated underwater environments but also into less attractive locales like human sewage outflows and sea urchin barrens. In pursuit of other environmentally based stories, he has camped out on the Alaskan tundra, trekked through the jungles of Uganda and rappelled from the cliffs of the rugged Oregon wilderness.
Often tasked to cover physically challenging stories in remote, dangerous places, he was one of the first journalists on the ground covering the war in Afghanistan in 2001. What started out as a single assignment turned into more than a decade-long commitment to telling the story of America’s wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He has lived more than two years of his life in Afghanistan, documenting the effects of the war on civilians and the actions of the Army, Marines and Special Forces. Loomis then followed the story home as the U.S.-led wars waned, doing in-depth projects on PTSD, soldier suicide and VA deficiencies.
In 2011, he covered the revolutionary movements in Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia and Libya – all in straight succession. He’s chronicled other significant global news events including the earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. More recently, he photographed the religious cleansing taking place in the Central African Republic where Christians have been purging the country of Muslims.
In addition to the Pulitzer, Loomis has been recognized as the National Press Photographers Association’s “Photographer of the Year,” and been awarded the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award (twice), the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award (twice), and the Robert F. Kennedy Award (twice).
Loomis was inducted Friday into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
He lives in Long Beach, California, with his wife Liz O. Baylen, also a photojournalist at the Los Angeles Times, and their wondermutt Cinnamon.
His work can be seen at www.loomisphotography.com as well as www.latimes.com.