Facebook Pixel WKU Student Publications: Alumni | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content


Thank you

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 67th annual Student Publications Homecoming Breakfast was Oct. 14, 2017, at Downing Student Union.

Adams-Whitaker Student Publications CenterWhen 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.



for outstanding contributions to journalism


Chris Poore spent 10 years working for Knight Ridder newspapers -- eight at the Lexington Herald-Leader and two at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia. Now he had a terrific career in newspapers, but where he has really made his mark has come in the 17 years since, when he has been adviser to the College Heights Herald's rival at the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Kernel. Chris was editor-in-chief of the Herald in Spring 1991.

During Chris' time advising the Kernel, the newspaper has won three national Pacemaker Awards, and he's had several staffers finish in the top 10 of the Hearst Awards. Some of his recent students work at The Washington Post, MSNBC, ESPN and in newsrooms and companies throughout the country.

Chris is married to Lee Upchurch Poore, who played volleyball at WKU when Chris was Herald editor. They have two children, Emery, 19, and Meg, 17. They live in a historic home in downtown Lexington, and they also raise chickens, turkeys, pigs and vegetables on a 25-acre farm in Harrodsburg.

For his work shepherding young journalists into successful careers, we are honored to give Chris Poore the College Heights Herald Award for Outstanding Contributions in Journalism.


for outstanding contributions to communications


Brad Hughes has made a 44-year career of getting people's messages out. He was a radio and TV reporter, a magazine writer and columnist, and he was the spokesman for the largest agency in Kentucky state government and then the largest organization of elected officials in the state.

Brad, who graduated in 1975, started his career at WFKN in his hometown of Franklin in 1973 and spent a decade in radio and television. In 1983, he was appointed director of communications for the Kentucky Cabinet for Human Resources, where he spent 10 years. In 1991, his operation was named the best state government public affairs unit in the nation by the National Association of Government Communicators.

From 1993 until this year, when he retired, Brad was director of communications services for the Kentucky School Boards Association, where he was spokesman and oversaw media relations, social media, website content, and writing for the Kentucky School Advocate magazine. We're not the only ones to honor Brad for his work -- he has won a slew of awards from both state and national groups. Brad also served on the WKU Alumni Association national board of directors.

Brad lives in Louisville with his wife, Judy Wildman Hughes (editor of the Herald in Spring 1977 and a winner of the Herald Award in 1996). He calls Judy "the finest journalist he ever worked with or competed against."

For a career marked with excellence at every step, we are honored to give Brad Hughes the Talisman Award for Outstanding Contributions in Communications.



Tom Caudill, who retired in August as managing editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader, was named Volunteer of the Year for 2017 on Oct. 12 by WKU Student Publications at the university's annual Summit Awards for honoring volunteerism.

Caudill, who lives in Lexington, is chairman of the Student Publications Advisory Board, a position he has held since 2012. In that role, he and other members of the board offer professional advice and coaching to ensure WKU's two student publications -- the College Heights Herald newsroom and the Talisman magazine -- provide students with experience relevant to building a career in professional news organizations.

For Caudill, it was his second time to be honored as Volunteer of the Year. Caudill previously won the award in 2008, when he also was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Medal, WKU's top honor for volunteers.


for outstanding contributions to journalism


Jerry Brewer was editor of the College Heights Herald in Spring 2000, and graduated from WKU in 2001. Today’s he’s a sports columnist for The Washington Post, and you may have read his wonderful column from the Rio Olympics on swimming. If you haven’t read it, Google “Jerry Brewer and swimming.” You’ll be glad you did.

Before joining The Post in June 2015, Jerry worked for The Seattle Times, where he wrote opinions about the entire Seattle sports scene for nearly nine years and chronicled the Seahawks' rise to NFL prominence under Pete Carroll.

Before Seattle, Jerry worked at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, The Orlando Sentinel and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has received awards for his work from numerous journalism organizations, including the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors, Associated Press Sports Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Best of the West and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Jerry is also the brother of our fellow alum Kyle Hightower, who is here with us today with his wife Satta.

Jerry lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Karen, and their sons, Miles and Austin.


for outstanding contributions to communications


Chad and Carla Carlton share roles in one of the most important moments in the history of WKU Student Publications.

Carla Harris was editor of the Herald in 1987-88. That spring, then-President Kern Alexander , who had been battling the Herald for much of his tenure, attempted to take control of Student Publications by installing “faculty editors” in place of students at the Herald and the Talisman.

Carla and her staff refused to allow the takeover. They called the move what it was –censorship – and they sounded the alarm with alumni and supporters.

Chad, who had been editor in Spring 1987, was one of those alums. He took time away from graduate school to join the fight. He and Carla, who had been his managing editor, led an effort that ultimately was successful, forcing Alexander to back down. Alexander left the university within weeks.

In the next three decades, that partnership between Carla and Chad only grew. They were married in 1991, creating what they call an “unholy alliance” -- she working for The Courier-Journal and he reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Carla worked for The CJ for nearly 20 years, as an assignment editor and copy editor. She has been at Bellarmine University for the past nine years, serving as editor of Bellarmine Magazine and director of Development Communications.

Carla is also a bourbon journalist, creating TheBourbonBabe.com, and has two books due out in 2017 – Still Life, which explores the craft bourbon trail in Kentucky; and Barrel Strength Bourbon, which details the rise, fall and rebirth of America’s native spirit.

Chad started his career at The News Enterprise in Elizabethtown, and then worked for nearly a decade as a government and political reporter at the Herald-Leader.

He made the move to public relations in 1999, joining Doe Anderson. And if you live around Louisville, you have seen much of his work handling public information for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Chad also was involved in the effort to sell voters in a public referendum on merging Louisville and Jefferson County government, and then became communications director for then-Mayor Jerry Abramson.

After eight years in government, Chad launched his own firm, C2 Strategic Communications, growing it from a one-man band six years ago to a six person team of former journalists, including four WKU alums. His firm will open its own office building in suburban Louisville early next year.

Carla and Chad have a daughter, Harper, who will be heading to college next fall to study film, cinematography and screenplay writing; and a son, Clay, who is a freshman at St. Francis High in Louisville.


for outstanding contributions to journalism


The winner of the 2015 Herald Award for Outstanding Contributions in Journalism is one of the most influential voices directing coverage for the public good in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

John Stamper is deputy editor for Accountability and Engagement at the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he previously served as a reporter covering matters ranging from technology and utilities to growth and development and the state government beat. He was the lead reporter on the Herald-Leader’s yearlong project, “Win, Lose or Draw: Gambling for Jobs in Kentucky,” which won national awards.

John has been an editor for the past seven years, directing coverage of government and watchdog reporting. During that time, he oversaw the Herald-Leader’s ambitious series about the woes in Eastern Kentucky, called “Fifty Years of Night,” which won national acclaim.

John also is a great friend of WKU Student Publications, volunteering his most valuable commodity – time – to lead training sessions for our students.

John was editor of the College Heights Herald in 1999, and lives in Lexington with his wife and two children.


for outstanding contributions to communications


The winner of the 2015 Talisman Award for Outstanding Contributions in Communications first made an impact at the news organizations where she worked, and now helps lead one of the most important and influential nonprofits in Southwest Indiana.

For the past year, Cheryl Edwards Martin has been the director of operations at the YWCA of Evansville, an organization she first became involved with several years ago as a mentor to a young girl from one of the city’s troubled schools who now is a college freshman.

Before joining the YWCA, Cheryl worked at the Evansville Courier & Press, where she had responsibilities in a variety of departments over the years, from reporting and editing in the newsroom to working in advertising to, finally, as magazine editor. She grew and developed the quarterly Evansville Woman magazine, the monthly Evansville Business Journal and launched the EBJ’s 20 under 40 feature.

She previously worked for the Winchester Sun, where she and her husband John were reporters, and also worked at the Butler County Banner and the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. She started out, though, at the small weekly in Clay, Ind., that her father owned, where she spent many afternoons pounding away on a typewriter in her dad’s office.

At WKU, Cheryl served as editor of the 1992 Talisman, and was a copy editor for the College Heights Herald.  Cheryl lives in Evansville with her husband, John, a reporter at the Evansville Courier & Press, and their daughter.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 1/31/18