NEW YORK – Former TAPinto Greater Olean reporter Lian Bunny received St. Bonaventure University’s most prestigious communications award Tuesday in New York City at the 57th annual Mark Hellinger Awards.

Bunny, a 2017 summa cum laude honors graduate in journalism and mass communication, received the 2017 Hellinger Award at the luncheon, and Andrew Bevevino, who graduated summa cum laude in 2016 with an honors degree in strategic communication and digital media, received the 2016 Hellinger.

More than 100 people, including eight past Hellinger winners, attended the awards luncheon, held at Hearst Tower in Manhattan. Speakers included Stephanie Mehta, a deputy editor at Vanity Fair, and 1974 St. Bonaventure journalism graduate Mike Spain, associate editor at the Albany Times-Union.

Sign Up for E-News

“It is such a pleasure and privilege to showcase the talent of our students and recognize they are the future of the Jandoli School, and of communication,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure. “Andrew and Lian are truly extraordinary and we look forward to seeing where their careers take them.”

Bunny was one of 22 college students chosen for summer 2016 News21 fellowships, a national reporting initiative headquartered at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her team reported on voter access and participation among growing demographics during the summer preceding the 2016 presidential election year.

During the spring of 2016, Bunny followed the 2016 presidential primaries for TAPinto Greater Olean. She spoke with local political leaders for reaction and analysis after each primary, and she covered a Donald Trump rally when he came to Buffalo in advance of the New York primary.

A Kenmore native, Bunny joined The Bona Venture student newspaper as a staff writer her freshman year. She took on additional responsibilities during her four years on campus, serving as assistant editor, news editor, associate editor and photo editor.

Bunny was a member of Embrace it Africa, a nonprofit organization started by students to aid a small village in Uganda. She also worked as a writing workshop assistant for the Teaching and Learning Center.

Bunny was also a freelance writer for the Niagara Gazette, a News21 Fellow at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, Ariz., a news intern at WBFO-FM in Buffalo, and an intern for the communications office at St. Bonaventure.

Recently, she was photo editor for the Buffalo Bills and an intern and freelancer for The Buffalo News.

Jackie Roberts, ’16, and Hannah Gordon, ’17, were also recognized as honorable mention Hellinger Award winners for their respective graduation years.

The Mark Hellinger Award, established in 1960 to honor Broadway playwright and Hollywood producer Mark Hellinger, recognizes a graduating student of the Jandoli School of Communication who has demonstrated academic excellence and genuine promise in journalism or strategic communication.

Inspiration for the establishment of the award came from Jim Bishop -- author, columnist and protégé-biographer of Hellinger. Bishop’s hopes were to further the cause of American journalism by commemorating Hellinger’s well-known practice of aiding others professionally.