In recognition of his 33 years of service to UNC Charlotte, Wayne Maikranz, director of Student Niner Media, was honored with the establishment of a student media award in his name.
The Wayne Maikranz Student Media Award will fund a scholarship, which will be given to at least one member of student media annually. Student Niner Media alumni Melissa (Manware) ’93 and Jeremy Treadaway ’93, Brent ’93 and Amy Sparks ’92, Mike ’91 and Tracey (Goode) Burnette ’91 and George Swygert Jr. ’89 contributed lead donations to support the award. Fellow Student Niner Media alumnus Joe Posnanski gave the first crowdfund gift.
“Wayne always pushed me to think outside of the box. He encouraged me to take risks and challenged us to approach things differently. Some of the earlier experiences I had managing and leading teams helped propel my career when I graduated,” said Swygert, a senior vice president with U.S. Trust.
Maikranz, who completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Evansville and Ball State University, respectively, worked at two daily newspapers in Indiana and as a client service representative for an advertising firm before joining UNC Charlotte in 1985. In 1992, he received UNC Charlotte’s Staff Employee of the Year Award.
As the student media adviser, Maikranz provides students with journalism training and support as well as counsel on legal, production and editorial content concerns. Additionally, he serves in a support role and coordinates retreats and convention travel, oversees the office and business management functions and promotes student staff development. He also advises the Student Niner Media Board.
Brent Sparks, director, self-service channels in global operations for PayPal, noted, “Wayne was a constant presence across all of Student Media, acting as a mentor, coach and guide as we spent many busy days and nights pulling together the newspaper. I'm thankful for his assistance during my four years and the impact my role in Student Media Marketing had in shaping my career today.”
During his long University tenure, Maikranz has received a number of accolades for his contributions to student media, including the 1993 Distinguished Magazine Adviser Award from the College Media Association and the National Teaching Award from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in 1987. He served on the advisory program board for the Associated Collegiate Press Association and co-authored "The Guidebook of Magazine Fundamentals for the Associated Collegiate Press" and designed "The People of Route 601: Life in the Slow Lane," a book of photography by Lex Youngman. In 2008, he was inducted into the College Media Advisers Hall of Fame.
For more than 30 years, Maikranz was a lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies. He taught several journalism courses, from introductory courses to those focused on writing and editing. Most recently, he taught a design course until 2018. He also supervised many students through practicums and internships.
Melissa Treadaway, a former Charlotte Observer reporter who now is a public affairs coordinator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, stated, “Wayne was more than just a student media adviser to me. He was—and in many ways still is—my mentor, my teacher and my friend. He played a significant role in shaping who I’ve become both personally and professionally. And I am forever grateful to him. I saw the opportunity to participate in this campaign as a small way to thank Wayne and to remind others of the impact good teachers have on their students.”
To date, more than $14,000 has been raised toward endowing the Maikranz Student Media Award. Student media alumni, who announced the establishment of the award recently at the annual Niner Student Media banquet, continue to solicit gifts for the scholarship.
Photo: Wayne Maikranz, third left, with Melissa (Manware) Treadaway, Mike Burnette, George Swygert and Brent and Amy Sparks.