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Oct. 21, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Laura Widmer, a longtime faculty member in Northwest Missouri State University's Department of Mass Communication, will serve as the 2010 Homecoming parade grand marshal, the University's homecoming committee announced.
As assistant professor of mass communications and director of student publications, she advises Northwest's award-winning student media, including The Northwest Missourian newspaper, Tower yearbook and the Heartland View online magazine.
Widmer, who began teaching at Northwest in 1983, also is a Northwest alumna, earning her bachelor's degree in journalism and English in 1979. As a student, she was involved in student publications, serving as editor of The Missourian during the summers of 1978 and 1979, and editor of the 1979 Tower. She also was a member of the journalism and English honor societies.
"I am just so honored and so delighted to have been nominated and be selected as grand marshal," Widmer said. "It's something that, just being a Bearcat all my life, is very exciting. It's such a privilege to think that people cared enough to nominate and vote for me. And then to be selected, it just makes me proud to be a Bearcat and proud to know that so many people care."
Widmer said she is most proud that The Missourian and Tower have been inducted into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame, having earned 10 All-American ratings within an 11-year span. Tower was a 1993 inductee; The Missourian was a 2000 inductee.
Additionally, she is a recipient of the National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer Award, past-president of College Media Advisers and a member of the CMA Hall of Fame. In July 2008, Widmer became publisher and owner of the Chariton Valley News Press in her hometown of Salisbury.
Widmer received multiple nominations to be the grand marshal. Nominees noted her consistent support for her students, past and present, while helping them learn the ins and outs of journalism.
In addition to national and state awards, she has guided her students to successful media careers at newspapers including The Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Des Moines Register and The Baltimore Sun. Others have gone on to successful careers in sports information, media relations, advertising and as journalism educators.
Some of the things nominators said about her included:
The grand marshal is selected by a committee of Homecoming Executive Board members, Homecoming advisors and a representative from the Office of University Advancement. Nominations are open to retired and current faculty or staff members, current students, alumni and friends of Northwest. The selection is based on the individual's connection to the University, contributions and the way they exemplify the Bearcat spirit.
"This year we had a record number of nominees which is only a testament to how outstanding our Northwest community, faculty, staff and alumni are, and how strong our Bearcat spirit is," Northwest's Director of Campus Activities Angel McAdams Prescott said.
As grand marshal, Widmer will lead the parade and participate in Homecoming activities throughout the week. The parade will begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, at the corner of Ray and College avenues and proceed east through Maryville to Market and Fourth streets.
Northwest will celebrate its 2010 Homecoming week, "Blast From the Past," Oct. 24-31. Events are open to all Northwest students, alumni, faculty, staff, families, friends and community members. For more information, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468