The College Media Association has recognized Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Tammy Merrett with its Louis E. Ingelhart First Amendment Award.
Merrett will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky., during the 2018 Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association Fall National College Media Convention.
The award is named to honor Louis E. Ingelhart, retired Ball State University journalism professor, who dedicated much of his life to studying, writing and teaching the applications of the First Amendment. Award recipients are professional journalists, institutions or advisers who have made an extraordinary, long-term contribution in support of the First Amendment. The award is not limited to CMA members.
“Much of the work I’ve done, and my most challenging career experiences, have had the First Amendment at their core,” Merrett said. “Whether it was educating students about their rights or putting my neck on the line while defending students’ First Amendment rights, I always just look at it as part of what I am called to do. So, to be honored with this award and find myself in such company is very humbling.”
CMA has recognized individuals with the Ingelhart Award since 1980, honoring members of such esteemed organizations as the Student Press Law Center, the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center and Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press, as well as college media educators for whom First Amendment freedoms are a particular focus.
In 2017, CMA honored Merrett as a Distinguished Newspaper Adviser.
Merrett has 22 years of student newspaper advising experience and has worked in the field as a professional journalist since 1986. Before joining the faculty at SIUE to become the program director for The Alestle, she worked for eight years as faculty adviser to The Montage at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, and two years as the junior adviser at The Journal at Webster University in St. Louis.
Since 2010, Merrett has been a member of the board of directors and is a past president of the St. Louis Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a past president of the Illinois College Press Association and has been active in ICPA since 2012. She is a member of the Gateway Journalism Review Board of Editorial Advisers, formerly the St. Louis Journalism Review, and worked for the media criticism publication in various capacities for 12 years.
A Kansas native, Merrett earned a bachelor’s in communications from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan. She later earned a master’s in communications management from Webster University.
CMA annually recognizes the achievements of individuals through various award programs, including Honor Roll Adviser Awards for professionals who have advised for five or fewer years; Distinguished Adviser Awards for professionals who have advised for more than five years; and a variety of special honors recognizing service and outstanding achievements.