Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.

2006 O'Malley Citation

2006 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for Elizabeth "Beth" Dickey

Some great teachers remain in their classrooms, touching the minds and hearts of those young people fortunate enough to be their students. Others reach beyond their own classrooms to enable other teachers, and their students, to expand their horizons. In a very good meaning of the word, this is ‘enabling’ of the highest order.

Since 1973, Beth Dickey has been responsible for organizing the planning and conduct of the annual conventions of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She has brought a modest and unassuming attitude to a complex job, always showing patience and perseverance. Never one to seek the spotlight, she has enabled others to find their own.

A former newspaper reporter in Charleston at the News and Courier and the Charleston Evening Post, as well as The Columbia (SC) Record, Dickey was hired to manage SIPA after it moved to the university in 1973.

While organizing SIPA activities and conventions, she earned her master’s in journalism at South Carolina in 1978 and joined the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, earning tenure and eventually becoming chair of the public relations sequence. As a faculty member, she has served as adviser to student teams in the Bateman Public Relations Case Competition. Teams she advised earned top national rankings in 2002 and 2004.

At its most recent, and her final, Convention as its executive director, SIPA announced the renaming of its Distinguished Service Award in her honor. It is a fitting tribute to someone who has, in the words of Karen Flowers, her colleague and successor, been  “a champion of the First Amendment, a visionary whose ideas and leadership have molded 34 SIPA conventions—the best little convention in the nation” and “a mentor for those of us in scholastic journalism.”

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association is proud to honor Elizabeth “Beth” Dickey with the Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2006.


This citation was written and presented by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Association.