The documentary “Making Their Mark: Jean Driscoll” won an Emmy award from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Honored in the category of Human Interest – Program Feature Segment, the feature was produced by Kaitlin Southworth, Tim Hartin and Alison Davis Wood for Illinois’ Office of Public Affairs and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Executive producers were Robin Kaler and E. Todd Wilson. The award was presented Oct. 1 in Branson, Missouri, at the 40th Anniversary Mid-America Emmy Awards. Awards were selected by a panel of NATAS members and represent excellence in the television broadcast industry.
The winning feature tells how Jean Driscoll uses sport to change lives. Driscoll’s wheelchair racing wins include two Olympic medals and 12 Paralympic medals. Driscoll also was the first person to win the Boston Marathon eight times. When she retired from racing in 2000, she started helping those with disabilities in Ghana, West Africa. On her first visit to Ghana in 2001, she witnessed the harsh conditions and discrimination faced by people with disabilities in that country. She conducted several wheelchair racing clinics in Ghana that led to that country’s first-ever Paralympic team. She even helped bring two coaches and eight athletes from Ghana to Illinois for training with the Illinois team. Driscoll currently is senior director of development for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.
“Jean’s work in Ghana has changed people’s lives and created new attitudes toward disability in the developing world. We were honored to have a chance to tell her story to a larger audience, and it is amazing to have it recognized as excellent by our peers,” Southworth said.
University of Illinois Broadcast journalism students also were honored. College of Media students received a 2016 Crystal Pillar Award for best college newscast in the Mid-America region. The Crystal Pillar is NATAS’ highest award for high school and college student television productions. This is the second time in four years that Illinois has won a Crystal Pillar award for a newscast. Also at the event, Cassidy Williams became the first Illinois student to be awarded an NATAS scholarship – the Governor’s Scholarship, presented by the NATAS Mid-America Board of Governors. Williams is a 4.0 GPA student with a double major in journalism and political science.