Four USF Alumni Receive Emmy Awards

Dec. 6, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

Alumni Jessica and Brendan Walsh received an Emmy award for their work on the eco-documentary, “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes.”

Joliet, Ill.- Emmy Award wins for several University of St. Francis (USF) alumni are highlighting the university’s Communication and Media Arts (CMMA) program.

Jessica (Saraga) Walsh ’05 (Joliet) and Brendan ’05 Walsh (Joliet) were awarded in the category Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs-Topical for their eco-documentary, “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes.” The two-hour film documents the aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and the efforts under way to control and prevent them. The Walshes filmed, edited, wrote and produced the documentary, which was narrated by Chicago news-legend Bill Kurtis. “Making Waves” then aired on PBS stations in Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto and throughout Michigan and New York.

The Walshes are co-owners of Great Lakes Media, a video production company which specializes in corporate promotions, live events and documentary production.

“We are still in complete shock,” exclaimed Jessica Walsh. “This being our first documentary, we were truly honored just to be nominated. But then to actually win, I don’t think either of us thought it would ever happen! We are just so thrilled beyond words,” said Walsh.

University of St. Francis alumni WLS-TV/ABC 7 assignment editor Kristin Hoogenboom ’95 (Woodridge) and news photographer Pat Keating ’94 (Joliet) also won Emmys. The graduates were awarded in the category Outstanding Achievement for New Gathering-Spot News for their work as part of a team of reporters, anchors, meteorologists and other news professionals for their work on the Ottawa, Ill. tornado coverage.

After 20 years of experience in the TV news industry, Keating is surprised but happy to have won two back-to-back awards in the same category. In 2016, he received an Emmy in the same category for his contributions to the coverage of the suicide of Fox Lake Police Officer Joe Gliniewicz in 2015.

Pat Keating ’94 documented some of the obstacles he faced covering the Ottawa, Ill. tornado, the subject that earned him his second consecutive Emmy award.

“It’s great to be recognized by my peers, but the real reward is in knowing I gave it my all,” comments Keating. “I was working hard before, but I guess now I’m just on a roll!”

USF’s Communication and Media Arts program was created to provide education and training in broadcasting, writing, journalism and production. CMMA Professor Richard Lorenc taught all four winners and was ecstatic at the news.

“I am so proud of my former communication students,” says Lorenc. “They excel in their profession and are making a difference in the world. They all adhere to the principle that the public has a right to know. I am confident that they will to continue to serve the public interest while telling it like it is.”

The 2017 Midwest Emmy Awards were awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Swissotel in Chicago.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 4,100 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.