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Source: Angela Powers, 785-532-3963,
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Kristin Copeland, 785-532-3952,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


MANHATTAN -- The student media adviser during the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy is joining the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University.

Kelly Furnas will be joining the school's faculty in August as an assistant professor. In addition, Furnas will be the associate director of Student Publications Inc. and executive director of the Journalism Education Association, which is based at K-State.

Furnas, a Topeka native, earned his bachelor's degree in print journalism from K-State in 2000 and a master's degree in business administration from Florida State University in 2003.

Angela Powers, director of the school, said she is looking forward to Furnas joining the A.Q. Miller School.

"Kelly was a featured speaker at our national conference on readiness communications in March," Powers said. "With his portrayal of how his students handled the shootings at Virginia Tech, I knew he would be perfect for our program. After conducting a national search, our faculty wholeheartedly agreed."

Linda Puntney, director of Student Publications and executive director of the Journalism Education Association, said, "Kelly already knows K-State and enjoys working with high school journalism students. His professional and collegiate experiences and his ability to work effectively with all types of people will definitely enhance his effectiveness."

Furnas has been editorial adviser at Virginia Tech's Educational Media Company since June 2005, supervising the student newspaper, yearbook, radio station, television station, literary and arts magazine, and photography staff. He has previously worked for In Business Las Vegas, a weekly business journal; the Las Vegas Sun, a daily newspaper; and the Tallahassee Democrat, also a daily newspaper.

"While the Miller School had a great reputation around the country, what's harder to quantify and what really stood out to me during my interactions with faculty, staff and students is just how passionate and hardworking everyone was about the school's mission. It's exciting to be joining this team," Furnas said.

Furnas received the Four-Year Newspaper Honor Roll Adviser Award in 2008 and has presented numerous papers on the struggles of covering the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

The A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, established in 1910, has three sequences: advertising, journalism and digital media, and public relations. The undergraduate program has an enrollment of about 650 students; the graduate program has about 20 students. The school is accredited by The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Student Publications Inc. has produced the Royal Purple since 1909, and yearbooks under other titles since 1902. One of the most-decorated college yearbooks in the nation, the Royal Purple has a long history of national awards dating to 1934 All-American ratings. Student Publications is an independent, nonprofit corporation that also publishes the Kansas State Collegian daily newspaper, which is the ninth largest daily in Kansas; its online edition, eCollegian; the website; and the K-State campus phone book.

The Journalism Education Association supports scholastic journalism advisers and educators through a bookstore, quarterly magazine, a certification program, and commissions on curriculum, multiculturalism, certification, middle schools and scholastic press rights. Committees in new media, professional learning communities and mentoring serve its 2,600 members. Educational programs include two conventions annually in cooperation with the National Scholastic Press Association and the Advisers Institute.