‘Honors Magazine’ shares top national award

‘Honors Magazine’ shares top national award

MTSU Honors College Dean John Vile holds the first-place plaque awarded for finishing in a tie with the University of Houston in the National Collegiate Honors Council printed newsletter category. Vile received the award in Boston. (Submitted photo by the University Honors College)

Marsha Powers believes that mixing the vision of another editor, the ideas and creativity of the designer and adding a full dose of color turned a high-quality publication into an exceptional, co-national champion for the MTSU “Honors Magazine.”

This past weekend, Honors College Dean John Vile brought back the National Collegiate Honors Council co-first place award MTSU shares with the University of Houston in the print category for faculty/administrator/student-published magazines.

Vile said the the award is “particularly sweet because it comes during the first year in which our ‘Collage’ (publication) received the nation’s top Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.”The award ceremony was held in Boston at the Sheraton Boston Hotel’s Gardner meeting room. Vile, who was joined at the event and conference by associate dean Dr. Philip Phillips, said a large crowd attended.

“Marsha Powers has moved our old newsletter, which was very good in its own right, to a magazine, and Sherry Wiser George and folks throughout campus have helped,” Vile added. “Ultimately, however, the magazine is powerful not just because of how nicely it is written and formatted but because of the positive stories that our students and faculty generate.”

Powers, coordinator of special projects and publications for the Honors College, credits the involvement of university senior editor Drew Ruble, the ideas and design by Wiser George, adding full color to the entire magazine and the photography of Creative and Visual Services’ J. Intintoli and Andy Heidt as four of the main reasons the magazine grew in stature.

“We were excited when we went to four-color and got Drew Ruble’s help,” Powers said, adding that the skills of Heidt and Intintoli have added “an extremely nice touch and dimension. And Sherry’s role is huge. Her design is very creative and eye-catching.”

Marsha Powers

Submitted for the national contest were the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 issues. The fall edition had full color on front and back and inside front and back pages, with spot MTSU blue color on the remaining 60 pages. Featuring veteran and nontraditional student Jake Verhoeff on the front cover, the spring issue changed names (from “Honors Edition” to “Honors Magazine”) and all 56 pages were four-color.

“The Honors College made the new layout possible with their openness and support of new design ideas,” Wiser George said. “It is also very helpful that our editors work to get the best solution when trying to make everything fit. When the Honors College chose to redesign their newsletter into what they hoped would be an award-winning magazine, they came to the process with a very clear vision of what they wanted this piece to be for their readers.”

Powers said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee requested 458 copies of the spring issue to give to high-ability prospective students “and we were able to get them to him by 9:30 the next morning.” The request necessitated the printing of additional copies of the magazine.

The spring 2012 cover for the MTSU “Honors Magazine” featured veteran and nontraditional student Jake Verhoeff. It marked the first issue with four-color process on all 56 pages. (Photo by Creative and Visual Services)

Richard Badenhausen, co-chair of the national honors council’s publications board, notified winning entries by email in October.

“We are very pleased at the quality of newsletters that were submitted and appreciate the effort you all make at producing attractive and informative publications for your programs,” Badenhausen said. The professor and director of the Westminster College Honors Program said 20 entries were in the print category.

The Honors College normally sends copies of its magazine, which highlights students, faculty, alumni and others, to its Board of Visitors, alumni and students pictured in the publication.

Other Creative and Visual Services staff members offer content suggestions and help proof the magazine before it goes to print.

“Our passion in the Honors College is to help all MTSU students become the best they can be and achieve their goals,” Powers said. “It doesn’t have to be honors students. We want to show the campus and beyond the quality of students we have, and we have some amazing students.”

— Randy Weiler (