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.

2010 O'Malley Citation

2010 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for Linda Puntney

In scholastic journalism, she is perhaps best known for her many years of extraordinary leadership behind the scenes as the executive director of the Journalism Education Association (JEA), the largest independent advisers organization in the field. But today we choose to focus on her perhaps lesser-known but equally impressive work as a teacher and adviser at the college level.

Linda Puntney serves as director of student publications at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas where she has advised the Royal Purple yearbook through many years of top-flight achievement of CSPA Crown Awards and NSPA Pacemakers. She has also directed the Flint Hills Publications Workshops each summer for high school editors and advisers.

In addition to serving as adviser to the Royal Purple, she has ably coordinated yearbook programs and activities for College Media Advisers, the national association for college publications advisers. All of these activities have been carried on before and during her work with JEA.

A longtime adviser colleague from Northwest Missouri State University, Laura Widmer, said this of Puntney:

"When I first met her, I didn't know that Linda Puntney would change my life, but she did. Her teaching and influence goes beyond the college classroom. I wanted to learn everything that she could teach me. I know I haven't accomplished that yet because 34 years later, I am still learning from my teacher, my mentor and my friend. There is no one who has touched my teaching career and my life more. Her yearbook, Royal Purple, has set the standards for excellence in collegiate journalism over the past 20 years. Her publications are the best, but it should come as no surprise, because she is simply the best. Thank you Linda Puntney for what you have done for collegiate journalism, and for me. You are the master teacher I still aspire to be.

But perhaps even more than an esteemed colleague, a student recognizes excellence in his teacher. Jake Palenske, a former student of Puntney's at Kansas State, wrote:

"I believe there are three categories most educators fall under. Instructors are the folks who go to their school, teach what is required, grade some papers and call it a day. Educators are the folks who go the extra mile to help their students achieve and learn, even if it means giving up some extra personal time to do it. Mentors are the folks who dedicate their careers to leaving their students in better shape than they found them in, day in and day out.

Linda is a mentor, and she definitely leaves every student she works with in better shape than she finds them."

For her extraordinary persistence and achievement as a teacher, adviser and mentor to students and faculty alike, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association is proud to present the Charles R. O'Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching to Linda Puntney.

This citation was written by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Association, and presented during the Advisers Awards luncheon on March 19, 2010 during CSPA's 86th annual Convention at Columbia University in New York City.