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Jackson State University Wins 2023 PRNEWS Digital Award

New York, NY, May 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- JACKSON, Mississippi -- The Jackson State University (JSU) Division of Marketing and Communications is the winner of the PRNEWS 2023 Digital Award for the long-form video, “1877: For THEE Culture – JSU Day of Giving.”

“We are honored that PRNEWS has recognized Jackson State University alongside some of the biggest public relations and marketing firms in the country,” said Alonda Thomas, JSU associate vice president for marketing and communications. “This speaks volumes to the caliber of work that our small, but mighty team executes on behalf of our stakeholders. A lot of planning and hard work goes into every campaign to tell the JSU story while further enhancing the university brand. Congratulations to the entire team on this well-deserved recognition.”

Each year, the distinguished awards program recognizes the most innovative and industry-altering digital communicators and campaigns.

“This year’s Digital Award winners embrace creativity and demonstrate how far- and wide-reaching digital communications can be,” said PRNEWS Editorial Director Erica Bradbury. “From platform-specific campaigns to crisis management communications, our winders represent a wide diversity of the types of work that can be accomplished.”

Jackson State University was recognized for its long-form video, “1877: For THEE Culture – JSU Day of Giving Film.” The project served as a marketing tool to encourage donors to give to the university and support student scholarships during a one-day fundraising effort. The marketing strategy helped JSU surpass the $500,000 goal, raising more than $600,000. The video content initially earned more than 4K views on Facebook and YouTube, plus 313 comments and 115 shares of the post on the Jackson State University Facebook page. The YouTube page received 190 comments in the live chat box during the premiere.

“Special thanks goes out to our consultant, The Wall Street Image, LLC, to our script writers, Michelle Boyd and Prince Duren, and faculty members in the speech and theatre departments. We could not have accomplished this feat without their expertise,” said Spencer McClenty, director of digital media communications. “Everyone who touched this project worked really hard, giving maximum effort while going above and beyond the call of duty to make this film a reality. This award confirms that our efforts did not go unnoticed. I'm both grateful and humbled by this recognition.”

Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement Yolanda R. Owens shared that the production truly resonated with JSU donors and the alumni base. The production highlights that while state funding is steadily decreasing and the cost of higher education is steadily increasing, it is even more important to secure private dollars to help close the funding gap for students. 

“Each year, we look for unique and creative ways to inspire our stakeholders to invest in JSU. The Division of Institutional Advancement is very proud to have partnered with the Division of Marketing and Communications team on this project in support of our Annual Day of Giving,” said Owens. “Our communications team did a spectacular job of developing the narrative and bringing it to life on screen, all while showcasing the beauty of the campus and displaying our robust academic programming opportunities. We are grateful to have such a talented team working to support fundraising initiatives for Jackson State University.”

Last year, the division received four 2022 dotCOMM Awards, an international competition honoring excellence in web creativity and digital communication. JSU was also a finalist for the 2022 Public Relations Society of America Anvil Awards for Best Use of Social Media, and a finalist for the 2022 PRNEWS Platinum Awards for Marketing Communications.

To view more JSU video content, please visit

About Jackson State University

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, healthcare, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in metropolitan Jackson, Jackson State is located near downtown, with four satellite locations throughout the area. For more information, visit

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Alonda Thomas
Jackson State University