Friday, Jan. 9, 2009
DIRECTOR OF K-STATE'S A.Q. MILLER SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATIONS NOT SURPRISED K-STATE ALUM PETE SOUZA TO SERVE AS WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER AGAIN
MANHATTAN -- The head of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University says it is not surprising that K-State alum Pete Souza will soon be serving his second stint as chief White House photographer.
President-elect Barack Obama has selected Souza, an international photojournalist, for the post. Souza also served as chief White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan from 1983-89.
"Pete has earned the trust of officials at the highest of levels," said Angela Powers, director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. "His photography reveals their most intimate sides."
Souza earned his master's in mass communications from K-State in 2006. He is one of the founding members of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Council, where Powers said he has been instrumental in creating a mentoring program connecting K-State students with established professionals.
"Through our Web site, students are now able to initiate relationships with some of our most prominent alumni who provide support and advice," Powers said. "Our school has graduated some of the most successful people in journalism and mass communications. Pete is only one of our most shining examples."
As a photojournalist, Souza has photographed many world events. He was one of the first photojournalists to cover the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2001. He also has covered the Washington political scene and, in 2005, began taking pictures of Obama, then a freshman U.S. senator, for the Chicago Tribune. He also documented Obama's presidential campaign and trips to seven countries, including Kenya, South Africa and Russia. In July 2008, Souza published a book of photographs, "The Rise of Barack Obama."
Souza is an award-winning photographer who has been recognized numerous times in the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition, the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism, and the White House News Photographers Association's yearly contest. His work also has been published in National Geographic and Life magazine.
Souza's electronic thesis for his K-State master's degree, "A Photojournalist on Assignment," received one of six 2007 Electronic Theses and Dissertations awards from the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. The thesis included 37 photographs covering subjects as diverse as two young boys at a K-State child care center, Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta at the White House, and the death of Reagan.
In December 2006, Souza served as the speaker for the K-State Graduate School commencement ceremony, where he also received his degree.
"His work is moving and brought tears to many eyes when he shared it as the graduate commencement speaker," Powers said.
Souza currently serves as an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication and will take an indefinite leave of absence.