Donald to receive award for long time service

Ralph Donald, professor of mass communications in SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), will receive an award for long time service on November 5.

The award is from the Mid Atlantic Popular American Culture Association (MAPACA). This is the first year for the award that was established to honor Loretta Lorance to “pay tribute to all of her hard work and contributions to the organization” according to an email informing Donald of the award.

Ralph Donald, professor of mass communications. photo courtesy of Donald.

“The department is extraordinarily proud of Dr. Donald and his accomplishments,” said Gary Hicks, associate professor and chair of mass communications. “Being awarded this prestigious award from the Popular Culture Association really does highlight not only his career, but his great contributions to the area of media studies of popular culture. It also shows what an important asset he is to the department.”

The announcement from Tracey Bowen, president of MAPACA, stated “the Loretta Lorance Volunteer Recognition Award will honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to the [MAPACA] over the years. The board wholeheartedly agreed that [Donald] should be the first recipient of this award.”

According to Donald, he joined the MAPACA in 1990 and attended the annual national conference in New Orleans, LA. He then discovered the Mid-Atlantic regional conference.  Donald stated they found out that he had a print journalism background and asked him to help with the new journal they were establishing, The Mid-Atlantic Almanack.

“I said, ‘Sure, I’d be glad to help.’ I figured I would read manuscripts or be an assistant editor and help with the layout or something,” said Donald. “Every time we have our annual conference they have board meetings. So I went to the board meeting and I was introduced as the new editor of the Mid-Atlantic Almanack.”

Donald stated that he served in this role for 16 years, as well as serving on the executive board for the Mid-Atlantic region of the MAPACA. He also served as the area chair for film studies, where he organized panels at each conference, for 16 years.

Donald met Lorance while she was a graduate student pursuing her doctoral degree. Donald stated that Lorance was very active in the organization.

“She was around doing everything and just serving every conceivable capacity. She was president for a year. She was program chair quite a few times. Tables needed moving. The desk needed manning during the convention. She was always there,” said Donald.

Donald said that Lorance passed away last year from cancer and the MAPACA decided to create the award in her name. He stated he was surprised to be the first recipient of the award.

“This award is quite surprising, much less this being the first award they thought of me. There are plenty of other folks who have long service to Mid-Atlantic too,” said Donald. “But for some reason, they chose me.”

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