A Nigerian professor, Chris Ogbondah, has won the Distinguished Scholar Award for the 2021-2022 academic year at the University of Northern Iowa in the United States of America. The award is given annually to the lecturer in the university who is most accomplished in scholarly and creative activity.
Mr Ogbondah obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, prior to proceeding to the United States where he obtained his Master’s and doctorate degrees in journalism.
A letter dated March 11, 2022, which was signed by Gabriela Olivares, Associate Dean, Graduate College of the university, and addressed to Professor Ogbondah said: “The Graduate College is pleased to inform you that the faculty committee for the 2021-2022 Distinguished Scholar Award has selected you as the recipient from a group of excellent nominees….A recognition award will be presented at the Annual Graduate Faculty meeting on Thursday, April 28, 2022.”
The letter added: “The Graduate College will recognize your achievements across campus and our community. This includes official announcements via different communication platforms and recognition at the Annual Graduate Faculty meeting in April and the Annual Fall Faculty meeting.”
The letter further said: “You have established a truly commendable record over your long and distinguished career and should be proud of your accomplishments. Your selection is a recognition of superior achievement as a faculty member….”
In 2009, Mr Ogbondah received the State of Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, the most prestigious award for excellence and achievements in education that the board awards annually to deserving tenured lecturers in the state’s three regency institutions of higher learning – the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa.
Mr Ogbondah is a four-time recipient of the American Press Institute Fellowship. He had also previously received the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) Excellence in Journalism Fellowship. He is also a three-time recipient of the Apple Polisher Award in recognition of excellence in classroom teaching and mentorship of students at the University of Northern Iowa.
Mr Ogbondah was a former Sports Editor at The Tide group of newspapers in Port Harcourt prior to going to the United States for post-graduate studies. He was a reporter at the WNTV/WNBS broadcast station in Ibadan. He is currently an Ambassador of press freedom at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID, formerly PTCIJ) in Abuja.
Mr Ogbondah has worked at six newspapers in America as a reporter and was a former essay contributor to the Newswatch magazine. He served on the international panel of press freedom that ranks the countries of the world on a scale of press freedom at Freedom House, New York. Among his publications are ‘Military regimes and the press in Nigeria, 1966-1993’, ‘Human rights and national development as well as State-press relations in Nigeria (1993-1998)’ and ‘Human rights and democratic development’.
As a scholar and educator, Mr Ogbondah has completed three sabbatical leave assignments at the Rivers State University, Mkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, as well as at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He is a visiting Professor of Journalism in the Department of Mass Communication at the Cross River University of Technology (UNICROSS), Calabar.
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