April 23, 2015
Katharine Hayhoe, Robert Wernsman and the 2014 Texas Tech University baseball team were honored Thursday for their contributions to West Texas.
The Association for Women in Communication Lubbock Professional Chapter held its annual Celebrity Luncheon Thursday at the Overton Hotel. The ceremony highlights members of the Lubbock and South Plains communities who make the area a better place to live.
2014 Red Raider Baseball Team
Coach Tim Tadlock took the baseball team to the College World Series in 2014, the first time in the university’s history the team has qualified for a trip to Omaha, Nebraska. It was the team’s longest season, ending after 66 games, and was the fourth-winningest season in Texas Tech history.
Tadlock, who also earned the Coach of the Year Award from the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, accepted the Headliner Award on the team’s behalf. Headliner awards are given to people whose achievements have earned widespread, positive media attention. He thanked the fans for their continued support.
“Our team really does believe that every body and every voice in Rip Griffin Park really does help us,” he said.
Hayhoe, who also received a Headliner Award, is an atmospheric scientist and director of Texas Tech’s Climate Science Center. She speaks throughout the nation on the subject of climate change and the effects it has on the environment and society.
Hayhoe also is frequently quoted in national news outlets. As an evangelical Christian, she occupies a unique place in the climate change conversation. Hayhoe, who was unable to attend, gave a short speech via video, saying she was grateful the focus was on communication, since that is a necessary aspect of teaching people about climate change.
“Climate change is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing challenges facing us today,” she said.
The Texas Tech Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute, where plant and soil sciences professor Abidi is the associate director, received a grant of almost $475,000 from Wal-Mart last year to study ways to make and use better cotton.
Abidi, who accepted on behalf of the institute, said cotton production and use is critical to West Texas, and this research would continue.
Wernsman, who died in March after an extended battle with cancer, received the Mary Ann Edwards Professional Communicator Award. After a long career as a newspaper reporter he came to Texas Tech to get a doctorate in fine arts and taught newswriting as well.
He never finished the doctorate, but in the course of his 20-year academic career Wernsman taught thousands of communications students and left a long history of journalism.
His wife, Marijane Wernsman, who just retired from the College of Media & Communication, accepted the award on his behalf. Holding a few sheets of paper, she said she’d found the beginnings of his acceptance speech after his death. Those notes contained a story of a time a young boy asked Robert Wernsman’s sister why so many Wernsmans became teachers.
“‘We are not necessarily smarter than others,’ his sister explained to the boy, ‘but we’re definitely superior communicators.’”
“That’s about as far as he got, but it does sum up Robert’s life,” Marijane said.
Other award recipients included Texas Tech graduates Eddie Dixon, an artist, and former state representative Delwin Jones.