Professor June Nicholson honored with VCU's Distinguished Service Award
Sep 3, 2019
Posted in: News
June Nicholson’s path to a career in journalism was solidified when she was an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill during the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. She watched as students at universities around the country — including her classmates — became influential voices during a tumultuous period, their protests, sit-ins and backstories chronicled by the press.
The experience reinforced in Nicholson a passion for seeking the truth. It fueled a decade-plus long career as a journalist in North Carolina and Virginia and later led her to the Virginia Commonwealth University Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, where Nicholson taught the craft of in-depth storytelling and reporting of major issues as a professor of journalism.
“Journalism and storytelling have always existed, and good journalism will always be needed,” said Nicholson, who retired at the beginning of last month after a 35-year career at VCU. “We have seen over history that the press has a vital role to play as a watchdog of government, as well as the watchdog of institutions and corporations.”
Nicholson has spent her career helping the public understand complex issues — and teaching others to do the same. On Thursday, she and five colleagues were recognized for teaching, scholarship and service achievement at the university’s Opening Faculty Address and Convocation. Nicholson received the Distinguished Service Award.
“Our system of checks and balances is made stronger by the presence of a free press and our world is much stronger by the work of journalists, many of whom risk their lives in pursuit of truth,” Nicholson said. “It’s a public good.”
The faculty recognized Thursday — and VCU’s faculty in general — are connected by their desire to seek truth and improve the human condition, said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.
“They have one really great thing in common and that is an unshakable commitment to the people who benefit from our mission and vision — in teaching, research, service and care,” he said.