STUDENT MEDIA AT VANDERBILT
HALL OF FAME
The Student Media at Vanderbilt Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to honor Vanderbilt University alumni who have achieved outstanding personal or professional accomplishments and/or made distinguished and lasting contributions to their field and/or to society in general. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor Vanderbilt Student Communications can bestow on its former student journalists.
To be considered for induction in the Hall of Fame, candidates must meet the following criteria:
Last worked with Vanderbilt student media as a student staff member at least 10 years prior to their potential Hall of Fame induction date;
Contributed in a significant way as a staff member to one or more of Vanderbilt’s print or electronic student media organizations;
Distinguished themselves through their work and acts at a level that merits recognition of the highest honor bestowed by Student Media at Vanderbilt.
Questions about the Hall of Fame or the nomination process can be emailed to email@example.com
2009 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2010 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2011 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2012 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2014 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2015 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2016 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2017 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2018 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2019 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
2020 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
EUGENE H. VAUGHAN
Class of 1955
Serving as The Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper sports editor helped Eugene H. Vaughan develop the entrepreneurial and leadership skills to build a regional investment management firm, chair a global association of investment professionals and improve the quality of life in Houston, Texas.
Vaughan who grew up in Brownsville, Tennessee, enrolled at Vanderbilt on a full Naval ROTC scholarship in 1951. As a rising junior, he took on the multiple duties of sports editor, writing about them in a 2018 alumni newsletter column. “The responsibilities of sports editor loomed large, writing three columns a week and organizing coverage of all sports, both varsity and intramural,” he said. “The IM League was complex, and in a way at that time, more talent-laden than the varsity teams.” Vaughan recruited many students, including former high school sports writers, to cover “the seemingly endless regular season and playoff games.”
He reached out to fellow student Sheldon Hackney, a future chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, for assistance on the columns.
Vaughan’s other campus activities included running varsity track and serving as the first president of what became known as Interhall.
Vaughan wrote his final Hustler column in May 1955. One of the absolute highlights of his time as sports editor was his friendship with Fred Russell, a nationally prominent sports reporter who worked for the Nashville Banner. Russell offered Vaughan a job after graduation, but the Navy had other plans for him.
After earning his MBA from Harvard Business School and serving three years on a Navy destroyer, Vaughan became an investment analyst with Putnam Management Company in Boston. In 1970, he founded Vaughan Nelson Investment Management in Houston. A decade later, with his urging as a leader in the financial-analyst industry, two professional organizations merged to create CFA Institute, which counts more than 170,000 members globally.
Vaughan stepped down as CEO of his investment management firm in 2000 to focus on his passions of community service and education. He immersed himself in the spirit, civic and business life of Houston, founding the Center for Houston’s Future, a major generator of civic leaders and strategic planning in the Houston region.
Vaughan was a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust from 1972 until 2004, when he became an emeritus trustee. He notes that he met his wife, Susan, at the wedding of his Vanderbilt roommate, and his daughter, Margaret, BA’88 and MBA’92, is a Double ‘Dore.
“Including the inspiration and career-shaping of my Hustler sports editorship, everything I cherish most in my life has come directly or indirectly from Vanderbilt. The Hustler taught me that people build meaning into their lives by commitment. One must commit—and stand by their commitments.”
Class of 1975
John Bloom, often known as his alter-ego Joe Bob Briggs, grew up in West Texas and attended high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. By age 13, Bloom was a sportswriter at the Arkansas Democrat. In his senior year, he sent some clippings to Vanderbilt for the Grantland Rice scholarship and was astounded to learn he had been selected.
“When I arrived at Vanderbilt, I thought I was a hot shot,” Bloom said. “The very tough professors, as they say in Appalachia, ‘taught me different.’”
At Vanderbilt, Bloom majored in English, taking nearly every class in the English Department, where the professors instilled in him an objectivity and appreciation for the language that translated well to his later career in journalism. “It was a priceless education,” he said.
As a freshman, he joined The Hustler staff. Many of the journalists he met, especially editor Clay Harris (a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee), expanded his views as to what was possible. He said the staff had a common desire to change the world. Bloom later served as sports editor and managing editor.
He entered the journalism field a dedicated optimist about what objective investigative reporting can do. “I’ve never lost that fire, despite many of my colleagues deciding that objectivity is passé,” he said.
He went on to become a satirist, investigative reporter, late-night movie host and actor who has written nine books, published articles in more than a hundred publications, appeared in several films, and been one of the leading champions of independent film in a newspaper column that was syndicated by The New York Times News Service and several other outlets for three decades.
Bloom’s books include Evidence of Love (1984), named by Time magazine as one of the best true-crime classics in history. More recently, his satellite thriller, Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story, was named one of the top five business books of 2016 by The Wall Street Journal.
A three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, Bloom also has appeared in several movies, including Casino, Face/Off and Great Balls of Fire, and was a special commentator for The Daily Show for two years.
As Bloom’s alter-ego Joe Bob Briggs, his wisecracking take on B movies was featured in two long-running late-night television shows—Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater on The Movie Channel and MonsterVision on TNT. That tradition continues with his latest series, The Last Drive-In, featured on AMC’s Shudder streaming platform. Over the course of his movie-hosting career, Bloom has executive-produced 20,000 hours of television and become the leading authority on exploitation and genre films.
KATHLEEN SMITH BARRY
Class of 1980
Kathleen Smith Barry, who goes by “Kats,” knew by fifth grade that she wanted to be a photographer. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, she moved to Nashville when she was 10. One of her most influential teachers was Louise LeQuire, a prominent Nashville artist and art writer.
Barry went to Rhodes College before transferring to Vanderbilt for her junior year. “I found a welcoming home in the Sarratt darkroom while taking photos for The Hustler, Versus and the Commodore yearbook,” she said.
Her assignments included Vanderbilt concerts by iconic jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke and many sporting events.
Barry has fond memories of Hustler social gatherings in which the entire staff would crowd into the newsroom at Sarratt. “I remember Alex Heard, who was the editor my senior year (a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee), doing a popular new wave dance called the Pogo,” she said.
Barry broke new ground at the Nashville Banner, which was the city’s afternoon newspaper, during the summers of 1978 and 79. She was Banner’s first woman photographer and first photography intern.
She earned a bachelor of arts in English in 1980 and worked several jobs her first three years out of school, including art gallery manager and television chyron operator. She also created specialty covers and inside full pages for Billboard magazine, including a concert photo of Bruce Springsteen.
Barry joined The Tennessean staff in 1983, working under legendary editor and publisher John Seigenthaler. “During the late 80s and 90s, I was ‘on loan’ for some USA Today projects, photographing Fidel Castro in Cuba, President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, Gov. Bill Clinton in Little Rock and many others,” she said. Her photos from the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt in Moscow were exhibited at the Russian Tea Room in New York City.
In the mid-90s she became a syndicated food photographer for United Features Syndicate, providing images for their Desperation Dinners column. “My family would eat the results after I made the recipe, styled the food and provided the finished photo.”
Barry, who is married to Mark G.G. Barry, MBA’79, has worked for the United Methodist Communications News Service the past decade. “My photo assignments have ranged from covering bishops visiting the San Diego-Tijuana border fence to teaching photography in Zambia,” she said. “I manage the all-digital United Methodist media library, build web content and work with a team of skilled journalists in a news environment that feels much like my glory days at The Tennessean.”
Class of 1993
Mark Bechtel grew up in suburban Cleveland and then Huntsville, Alabama. When he arrived at Vanderbilt in 1989, he met hallmate Mitch Light (‘93). Light had won the Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Sportswriting Scholarship and suggested they join The Hustler. Bechtel’s first assignment was covering the rugby team, and he recalls writing a couple of women’s basketball stories next.
“The Hustler seemed pretty cool,” Bechtel said. “It was an impressive group. I always sort of liked sports but had never done any journalism.”
Bechtel majored in economics and political science. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I figured ‘business,’ whatever that means,” Bechtel said. “The Hustler was something I wasn’t bad at and really enjoyed.”
He tried his hand at photojournalism. The photo editor at the time, Jay Graves (’93), loaned him a camera and film and showed him how to use the equipment. Bechtel traveled to a football game at Ole Miss, where Vanderbilt won on a last-second field goal. Bechtel’s photograph of that moment was picked up by the Nashville Banner and ran on its front page.
“I never took a good photo again, so I went back to writing,” Bechtel said. Years later, at Sports Illustrated, he said he enjoyed taunting the professional photographers about how “easy” sports photojournalism is.
At The Hustler, Bechtel served as editor of the Perspectives section, where Michelle Cottle (a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee) was a star columnist. He also worked as a layout designer for The Vanderbilt Review literary and arts journal.
Bechtel’s jobs after college included working in Vanderbilt’s sports information department. Meanwhile, former Hustler sports editor Dana Gelin (’90) was a reporter at SI in New York. In 1995, Gelin helped get him in the door with a fact-checking job. Bechtel has been a fixture at SI ever since.
In his 25 years at the magazine, Bechtel has covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA finals, Olympics, World Cups and—his favorite—the 2003 North Dakota state curling championship. As the magazine’s NBA editor, Bechtel served as editor for senior writer Lee Jenkins (a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee) for nearly a decade.
Bechtel led Sports Illustrated Kids magazine as managing editor and edited SI’s Scorecard section. He also helped develop and launch SI Kids’ Rookie Books series for early readers. Bechtel is the author of He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back (2010), the wild, true story of the birth of modern stock-car racing. Now serving as deputy editor at SI, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters.
Class of 1998
Patrick Taylor credits his 12 continuous years of working in student media with helping launch his career at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Taylor, a Triple ’Dore who was raised in White House, Tennessee, was the unofficial engineer for Vanderbilt Television during its early days in the Lupton Hall basement of Branscomb Quadrangle.
“Even in elementary school, I was fascinated with both the creative and technical aspects of video, so I quickly headed down the stairs from my Branscomb dorm room to the VTV studio,” Taylor said. “In 1994, everything was on tape with a lot of cutting and splicing. I embraced the role of ‘let’s figure out how to do it’ with everything from recording to mixing and then editing the final product.”
One of Taylor’s favorite memories was broadcasting Vanderbilt basketball games live from Memorial Gym. After he secured permission from Vanderbilt Athletics to broadcast games not being carried by the national networks, Taylor and his VTV colleagues set up the first fiber optic link from Branscomb to the gym.
During Taylor’s sophomore year, he hosted a WRVU show called TV Time with Patrick, spotlighting songs from popular television programs and movies, show tunes and more. While that program went on hiatus, he returned to WRVU with a Friday night talk show on social issues and other timely topics. Taylor also served on the VSC board of directors.
Taylor stayed focused on electrical engineering while earning a bachelor of engineering in 1998, master of science in 2003 and doctorate in 2006. “My introduction to the Aviation and Missile Center began with a request from my engineering department to help some undergraduate students with their senior project,” Taylor said. “They needed technical assistance with a video library on missile and rocket testing they were compiling for the Aviation and Missile Center. I was introduced to some of the folks at the center and accepted a position there after graduation.”
Taylor serves as head of the electrical engineering group for the missile propulsion branch and the power technology lead for the entire center. He also is the de facto video producer for many of the center’s projects, including community outreach initiatives for Huntsville city schools. And he is proud to be the second of three brothers to graduate from the School of Engineering, with Travis Taylor earning his bachelor of engineering in 1998 and Shawn Taylor following in both of their footsteps in 2005.
Taylor maintained an entrepreneurial spirit throughout his days with student media and transferred the skills he learned there to his engineering career. “I encourage young people to be open to educational experiences not directly related to their majors because these ventures often shape their career paths in unexpected and beneficial ways.”
2021 STUDENT MEDIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
EILEEN A. CARPENTER
Eileen A. Carpenter is an accomplished attorney in Baltimore whose interest in stars and astronomy led her to major in physics at Vanderbilt.
In 1965, Carpenter graduated from Nashville’s Cathedral High School and enrolled at Vanderbilt, where she volunteered to write for Rap, a publication started by Black students, and The Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper.
“Vanderbilt integrated its undergraduate school in 1964, the year before I started,” Carpenter said. “It was a challenge for me to join extracurricular organizations because, invariably, I would be the only Black in the group. However, I enjoyed camaraderie at The Hustler, and I especially enjoyed being involved with the news of the ’60s.”
Rap gave Black students an opportunity to express their frustrations and feelings of isolation. “In Rap, we mostly poured out our hearts,” Carpenter said. “The Hustler wasn’t covering the things we wanted to cover. Most students didn’t really know what Black students were going through.”
Recruited by Westinghouse, Carpenter worked there for four years as an associate engineer. Later, unhappy with the military-industrial complex and her job, Carpenter considered law school but worried it might be boring.
“I loved it right away, from Day One,” she said of the University of Maryland School of Law. “I especially enjoyed my real estate courses, which literally brought me out of the cosmos and back down to earth.
“I realized that for most people, especially black people, their home constituted their major source of wealth. My real estate courses and my private practice taught me about restrictive covenants, redlining, predatory lending, blockbusting, reverse mortgages—all the legal machinations used to legally deprive people of their property. Being a lawyer has allowed me to help a lot of people.”
After law school, she worked for Baltimore City Law Department in the labor law section for 18 years while managing a small real estate practice. In 1996, she retired from Baltimore City to work full time in her private practice. Carpenter has more than 30 years of experience handling various real estate matters. She has represented clients ranging from banking institutions and investors to individual buyers and sellers.
Reflecting on her time in student media, Carpenter said The Hustler gave her an interesting insight, especially when one of her articles was rejected because “it might offend some people,” she said.
“I think the title was ‘Blacks, Poor Whites and Southern Belles,’” Carpenter said. “As I listened to the explanation, I realized my colleagues and I had distinctly different experiences and points of view which had shaped our understanding of the subject matter. To this day, I try to understand a situation from the other person’s point of view before passing judgment.”
Henry Hecht always wanted to be a sportswriter, and he got to live the dream for 35 years.
When he arrived at Vanderbilt in 1965, he knew joining The Hustler on Day One was “a must.” He served as sports editor after working on staff throughout college. He was also a contributing writer for the Dirty Weejun campus humor magazine.
“Alumni Hall became my second home,” Hecht said of The Hustler’s location at the time. He did get out of the office senior year to cover every basketball road game, thanks to funds secured by his editor, Chuck Offenburger, BA’69, a member of the Student Media Hall of Fame.
“I can still see myself, on the phone in Knoxville and Starkville and Oxford and Baton Rouge, dictating my game stories as I met the first deadlines of my career,” Hecht said.
After graduating, he was hired as a sports clerk at the New York Post, working on the “lobster shift,” 1:30 to 8:30 am. In the “catch” of his life, he noticed a missing Knicks playoffs score minutes before deadline. Soon after he got the opportunity to report on high school basketball and then harness racing, which he covered with creativity and audacious commentary.
“I would criticize drivers for their tactics, sometimes hinting at improprieties,” Hecht said. “I made up comic poems and new lyrics to popular songs, including ‘Magical Mystery Tour.’ Most important, in the Post’s view, I sold papers. The Post actually put me on the side of their trucks after just a few weeks. Heady times for a 23 year old.”
In June 1974, Hecht’s dream of covering baseball for the Post was realized when he became the Yankees beat writer, and in 1983 he became one of the first national baseball writers. In 1984, he left to write the “Inside Pitch” column at Sports Illustrated.
Hecht then freelanced for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and on-air for NBC’s Sunday Today Show, among others, before joining The National sports daily as a sportswriter and columnist. His last stop in journalism was at Newsday as a sports copy editor and writer.
Since 2005, he has been a writing coach and SAT and ACT tutor. His love of teaching first surfaced at the Post and continued at Newsday, where he worked with young writers. Appreciative of editors who helped him, Hecht has sought opportunities to help others whenever possible.
“I worship the English language and enjoy tutoring as much as I enjoyed being a journalist, which makes me the luckiest of people,” Hecht said. “I’ve had two careers that I have truly loved.”
ANN MARIE DEER OWENS
Ann Marie Deer Owens has been telling Vanderbilt’s stories for the past 29 years through her roles in Communications and Marketing at the university. Her interest in writing and broadcasting started when she was a student here.
Owens joined several students from Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, in selecting Vanderbilt, where she majored in English and joined WRVU radio’s news staff and The Hustler’s arts staff.
She recalled Shakespearean Professor Scott Colley assigning readings of renowned literary critic and alumnus Cleanth Brooks, so when Brooks visited campus, Owens volunteered to cover it for The Hustler.
“Brooks’ agent turned me down for a sit-down interview,” Owens said. “I had to wait outside the University Club and chase him as he was leaving a library-hosted dinner. This was not conducive to writing an in-depth article, but it made the paper’s front page.”
She spent three afternoons a week at WRVU, where she learned how to edit audio, write broadcast copy, curate wire stories and deliver newscasts every hour. Owens said she felt at home working in radio, and she made lifelong friends at WRVU.
“I learned you have to be persistent, and you have to really want to do it,” Owens said. “Nobody’s going to hand it to you. I think it really gave me the confidence to knock on many doors on the way to starting my career.”
After graduating, Owens worked at WMAK Radio on the midnight shift, which was “awful,” she said. She moved to WKDA-KDF radio in Nashville, where she would stay for 13 years and serve as news director. In 1990, The Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters Association named her Broadcaster of the Year.
She left broadcasting to work in the nonprofit sector before returning to Vanderbilt in 1992 as a public affairs officer. Among her many projects, Owens created radio spots, including the award-winning That’s Vanderbilt audio feature, which was broadcast during Vanderbilt football and basketball games and a Nashville radio talk show. She now serves as senior writer and storyteller at Vanderbilt. One highlight in her Vanderbilt career was working on a story about former Sen. Lamar Alexander, BA’62, a member of the Student Media Hall of Fame. Alexander donated his papers to Vanderbilt Special Collections, and because Owens had covered his gubernatorial campaign and administration earlier in her career, she “felt part of that time in Tennessee history.”
Owens has served on several local nonprofit boards, including Friends of the Susan Gray School, where she was board president, and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. For VSC’s previous Student Media Hall of Fame announcements, Owens interviewed and wrote the inductees’ stories every year from 2009 to 2020.
Jay Graves successfully cofounded, grew, and sold successful data-driven businesses before stepping into his current position as chief operating officer of Nashville-based marketing firm Blueprint.Inc. He credits his experiences at Vanderbilt student media for teaching him to love the written word, discover his work ethic, and marvel at real-world applications of technology.
Graves spent his first two years at Vanderbilt studying engineering before switching gears to major in political science. He worked for The Hustler and other publications as a photographer and writer during all four years of college.
It was a transformational time when photographs were developed in the darkroom while digital photography was just starting. Graves brought in the first digital pictures his senior year, and he was there for the first newspaper layout using desktop publishing.
“We somewhat affectionately referred to ourselves as ‘tunnel rats’ since we never saw the light of day from working in the bottom of Sarratt Student Center,” he wrote in VSC’s alumni newsletter, adding that the newspaper “taught me about desktop publishing, networking, pre-press, people management and production schedules—things vital to modern marketing success.”
After graduating, Graves took a position managing political-fundraising databases. He had dabbled in database work at The Hustler, but he said he quickly discovered he had no real database experience. Even so, he learned on the job and said, “I just completely and utterly fell in love with it.”
In 1995, Graves co-founded SmartDM, which started as a direct mail agency and then grew into one of the original Software-as-a-Service providers focusing on customer database management and email marketing.
He and his partners built an email distribution system using personal computers and then took advantage of the burgeoning internet. Graves developed a system allowing sales representatives to combine sales-leads databases with ticket-sales technology for the Nashville Predators, the company’s first subscriber. Eventually, 300 sports teams were running the subscription software packages. SmartDM grew to 90 employees and was purchased by Acxiom for $22 million in 2005.
Graves later cofounded the SSB Central Intelligence platform, which was sold to Strattam Capital in 2018. He also served as a board member at community volunteer organization Hands On Nashville during a “profound period of growth,” during which he was the chief advisor on HON’s first business planning process and a multi-year organizational expansion.
Graves now runs operations for his wife Liza Graves’ (BS’94) business, StyleBlueprint.com.
“It’s a digital magazine that, upon reflection, is a lot of deadline-driven publishing that is eerily similar to my college days,” he said. “Apparently, I can’t get away from publishing.”
Pete Madden is an award-winning reporter, editor and producer for the ABC News Investigative Unit. His early interest in sports journalism evolved into a talent for investigative journalism while he was a student Vanderbilt, and he would experience a similar evolution in his professional career.
“I didn’t realize Vanderbilt had such a rich sportswriting tradition,” he said. “I liked sports, and I liked writing, so I applied to join the Hustler staff. That’s what made sense in my 18-year-old brain.”
For Madden, the behind-the-scenes access, the press box, and talking to players, made for an exciting experience, underscored when fellow students read his byline in the paper and asked him about his writing.
During his sophomore year, Madden joined a small group of students to pursue an investigative journalism project with VSC advisers. He said the experience showed him news is “more than what someone tells you to cover,” and he learned the basics of enterprise reporting.
“It was like an investigative team. It got you thinking, you don’t have to just wait for something to happen,” Madden said.
He was a sports editor for The Hustler and was the first sports editor for the former student media website InsideVandy.com. After graduating with a double major in communications studies and English, Madden earned an M.S. in digital media at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012.
He then worked at The Los Angeles Times and later as a senior producer at Sports Illustrated, where he covered golf, a sport he had never played or watched.
“Covering tournaments was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t hard-hitting. Then a certain golf course owner ran for president, and my stories now had national significance,” he said.
Madden co-reported the Sports Illustrated “First Golfer” feature about President Donald Trump’s global golf business. Trump called it “fake news,” but The Washington Post called “one of the best pieces of political journalism of the Trump age.”
In April 2017, ABC News snapped him up. Madden serves as an investigative producer and has covered the Mueller investigation, sex abuse in sports, and human rights violations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Madden led the network’s groundbreaking investigation of the NFL’s use of “race-norming” to determine eligibility for compensation to former players suffering from the lingering effects of head injuries, resulting in the league’s abandonment of the controversial practice.
Madden has twice been nominated for Emmy Awards, and his work has been cited by The Best American Sports Writing series.