William Celis of Inglewood, Calif., has been named Howard Payne University’s Homecoming 2019 Distinguished Alumnus. He is among nine who will be honored during this year’s festivities, to be held November 1-2. Additional honorees are listed at www.hputx.edu/homecoming and will be highlighted in the weeks to come.
Celis and other honorees will be recognized during the Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, November 1, in the Mabee University Center’s Beadel Dining Hall. The honorees will also be featured in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, November 2, beginning at 10 a.m. Ticket information for the banquet and a full schedule of the weekend’s events are available online at www.hputx.edu/homecoming.
He graduated from HPU in 1978 with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. While at the university, Celis participated in The Yellow Jacket student newspaper, serving as editor of the publication for three years. He also served as a student senator and a freshman class officer. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Omega. He went on to study at the Columbia Journalism School, where he received his master’s degree in 1982.
Celis reporting career began at the Brownwood Bulletin, which led to The Wall Street Journal, where he was a domestic correspondent and columnist. Later, he served as a national correspondent for The New York Times.
In 2000, Celis became an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He has served as an associate director and associate dean at the university.
Celis led a school initiative on diversity and inclusion that won the USC Annenberg School National Award, the 2012 Equity and Diversity Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has received multiple teaching awards, including the 2018 Bingham Fellowship from the American Society of News Editors.
His writing as a journalism professor has appeared in Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and academic journals at Brown University and Columbia University. He is the author of Battle Rock: The Struggle Over a One-Room School in America’s Vanishing West and is currently finishing his second book, Denetrio’s War: The Enduring Campaign for Equality in American Schools.
“Over the years, especially as I’ve grown older, I have come to appreciate even more the extraordinary education and foundation for life I received at Howard Payne,” he said. “My professors and classmates, and the support I received from both, gave me assurance to go out into the world to do what I have done.”
Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at email@example.com.