Students, alumni win public relations awards


Students who work at the Donnelley Center pose with an award they won. Professor Alvaro Bootello said that Loyola plays an important role in the New Orleans public relations industry. Courtesy of the Donnelley Center.

Valerie Cronenbold

The Donnelley Center was recognized with a Certificate of Merit for the 2019 Outstanding Student Campaign. The student-run agency specializes in offering hands-on experience in the world of integrated communications. Members of the team were celebrated specifically for working alongside the New Orleans Bulldog Rescue calendar campaign created in 2019.

“I think the awards represent all the hard work and dedication that the students at the Donnelley Center do constantly. They have to put in their time and make sure that each project is completed with their best and fullest effort, and I think it reflects Loyola as a whole, our Jesuit values, how we all just want to come together and help our community,” said Khayla Ghaston, Public Relations director of the Donnelley Center.

She was one of the students and members representing the organization at the ceremony. Director Chelsie Degner, Assistant Director and Diversity and Inclusion Officer Rana Thabata; Assistant Director Claire Anderson; Director of Strategy and Research Abby Perez and Creative Director Olivia Molloy were all present to receive recognition.

“As a student in attendance at the ceremony, I feel that it was an amazing experience just to witness the students receiving awards for their hard work and seeing everyone awarded in the presence of great ambitiousness in the industry. I feel that just keeps you motivated to continue to do great things and continue to do nonprofit,” she said.

“I feel like it will definitely light a match under our bus to continue with that ambition to continue to go after our best clients, to continue to help the clients in our best way possible. We don’t ever want to short come our clients: we want to make sure that everything that they have in mind, we can get them to the finish line and make sure they are happy at the end of the day”, she concluded.

Loyola alum and former Donnelley Center advisor Valerie Andrews was congratulated with the Southern Public Relations Federation 2019 Senior Practitioner award for her work as a veteran public relations professional with high ethical standards.

“The PR community here in NOLA is populated with Loyola alums, and that makes us very proud. The industry is picking up on what we’re doing here. It’s all about networking and opportunities, PRSA and PRAL. We’re humbled that our work is recognized,” executive director of the Donnelley Center and Chair of the Department of Strategic Communication Alvaro Bootello said.

“It always very pleasant that the industry is recognizing what our students are doing. We’re humbled to see them succeed and thrive in this industry. Hard work pays off,” Bootello said.

“What makes the Donnelley Center different from the rest is that we work exclusively with nonprofits and we work pro bono. The cost of the projects that we do really touches people, and its more significant working with a nonprofit than a for-profit. Every project really gets you in, and you can see that students literally take the best out of their abilities and skills. I think that’s what stands out from other places,” he said.

The Bateman Team keeps a winning streak as the most awarded organization at Loyola University New Orleans, snatching a Flambeaux Award for the Designing Diversity campaign in 2019. Recognized members were Chelsie Degner, Crysten Price, Jessica Dicker and Asha Thomas.

“We are the most awarded school in the nation. Regarding Bateman, we’ve won more than any other school so it really showcases the quality of the work done here”, said Bootello.

The Bateman Team is not the only Flambeaux award winning streak that Loyola may be proud of. The Donnelley Center won a Flambeaux in 2018 for Outstanding Student Campaign, which is the only student category they have.