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Virginia Communications Hall of Fame announces new class

RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 17, 2006) – A bestselling novelist, a trailblazing reporter, a venerable public affairs strategist and a distinguished editorial writer have been selected for induction into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee tapped David Baldacci, Helen Dewar, Eva Teig Hardy and Overton Jones to form the Hall of Fame’s 19th class of inductees. The new honorees swell the Hall of Fame’s ranks to 98 individuals representing a complete range of communications fields.

Professionals in journalism, education, advertising and public relations will gather on April 6 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond for the induction ceremony and dinner, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications.

David Baldacci has published 12 novels and written seven original screenplays. Baldacci’s books have been translated into 37 languages and sold in more than 80 countries. Baldacci’s novels “Saving Faith” and “Last Man Standing” each reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and his novel’s awards include the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read award, the Gold Medal for Best Mystery/Thriller from the Southern Writers’ Guild and People magazine’s “Page Turner of the Week.” Baldacci’s charitable work has included literacy causes, such as the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Helen Dewar, a retired journalist, was a pioneering reporter with the Northern Virginia Sun and The Washington Post. Dewar was one of the first women to cover Virginia state politics, mastering the beat for the Post in the 1960s and 1970s. She later covered national politics for the Post until her retirement in January 2004. Dewar, who worked at the Post for 43 years, won the Eugene Mayer Award in 1987 as one of the newspaper’s top employees. Katherine Graham, the late publisher of the Post, called Dewar “a wonderful inspiration for all of us to live up to.”

Eva Teig Hardy, senior vice president for external affairs and corporate communications at Dominion Resources Services, Inc., has extensive experience in both public service and private industry. Among Hardy’s previous honors was the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Hardy’s work at Dominion and its subsidiary, Virginia Power, has included strategies for a high-profile merger and for the company’s public approach to restructuring. Hardy also served as Virginia’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry and as Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

Overton Jones worked for 55 years as a reporter, editorial writer and associate editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, gaining widespread respect for his fair-minded take on topics. Jones, “a quiet man of integrity,” according to former Times-Dispatch editor Bill Millsaps, won countless first-place awards from the Virginia Press Association during his lengthy stint on the paper’s editorial staff. In addition to his opinion pieces, Jones reported on civil rights issues for Southern School News from 1954-1966, providing comprehensive news about the state’s schools in the wake of the Supreme Court’s school integration decision.

“We are pleased to recognize these outstanding individuals for their many inspirational accomplishments,” said Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., director of VCU’s School of Mass Communications. “Each member of this class has excelled in his or her chosen field, and they are worthy additions to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.”

The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Tickets are $125 each and can be reserved by calling (804) 827-3761. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Hall of Fame permanent exhibit and scholarship fund.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.