Award-Winning Newspaper Columnist, Internet Sensation Marilyn Hagerty To Receive Al Neuharth Award at University of South Dakota, Oct. 4

Sep 27, 2012, 16:31 ET from Al Neuharth Media Center

VERMILLION, S.D., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Newspaper columnist and Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty, 86, a University of South Dakota alumna who was Al Neuharth's first editor 65 years ago, will receive the 2012 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media on Oct. 4, 2012.

Hagerty, who writes columns for the North Dakota Grand Forks Herald, drew widespread media attention earlier this year when her straightforward feature story about the opening of the first Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks went viral on the Internet, and led to coverage on television, in newspapers, on websites and in social media.

The award, recognizing lifetime achievement, will be presented Thursday evening, Oct. 4, at the University of South Dakota. The award is named for USA TODAY and Freedom Forum founder Al Neuharth, a South Dakota native and 1950 USD journalism graduate, who will be on campus to honor Hagerty as a model journalist dedicated to serving local communities through consistently fair, truthful and relevant coverage. Hagerty is the 26th person honored by the Freedom Forum and the university since the Al Neuharth Award program began in 1989.

"Marilyn, my classmate back in the '40s and editor of the student paper, took a chance on me as rookie reporter, hired me for my first newspaper job and taught me vital lessons about the roles and responsibilities of professional journalists," Neuharth said. "Those same high principles that Marilyn preached as a young college editor 65 years ago define and distinguish her extraordinary and enduring career."

The Al Neuharth Award presentation, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m., Oct. 4, in Aalfs Auditorium at Slagle Hall, 414 East Clark St., Vermillion. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. No tickets are required for general seating, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the Al Neuharth Media Center

The Freedom Forum's Al Neuharth Media Center on the University of South Dakota campus was dedicated in 2003. It is home to offices of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the USD Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism, and all USD student media, including The Volante. Freedom Forum Diversity Institute programs based at the Al Neuharth Media Center include the American Indian Journalism Institute. The Diversity Institute, established and funded by the Freedom Forum, is a school dedicated to teaching journalism skills and First Amendment values by advancing news media diversity, fairness and excellence through a variety of training and scholarship-based programs. More information is available at or by contacting Jack Marsh, president and chief operating officer,

About The University of South Dakota

Named "one of America's best colleges" by The Princeton Review, the University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. It has an enrollment of more than 9,900 students taught by 400 faculty members. More information is available at

SOURCE Al Neuharth Media Center