Liberty University's team took top honors at National Student Advertising Competition. Photo courtesy of Liberty University.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Liberty team takes first place at National Student Advertising Competition

Students from Liberty University’s Advertising Team won first place in the National Student Advertising Competition, held recently at the American Advertising Federation’s ADMERICA Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Liberty was one of 96 universities in this year’s competition and one of eight to earn a trip to nationals, according to a news release from the school. The other schools to make the finals were Brigham Young University, Hawaii Pacific University, University of San Francisco, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota, Chapman University, and Texas State University.

Each year, teams participating in the competition are assigned a “problem” to solve to help a client better advertise their product or organization. This year’s client was the job-searching website

The prize for first place includes a $5,000 scholarship for each student to the Brand Center, an advertising graduate program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Most members on Liberty’s 24-person team are pursuing degrees in strategic communication under the School of Communication and the Arts, while two students are part of the School of Business’ finance program.

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Author Holly Gleason to speak about the power of women music artists at Bristol event

Author and journalist Holly Gleason will be the featured guest for this month’s Speaker Sessions series at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. June 13.

Gleason, the author of “Woman, Walk the Line,” will lead a discussion of how women artists change lives through their music.

“By shedding light on what women artists embody and the significance of their music, Gleason’s presentation promises to be an inspiring and enlightening experience for us all,” said Rene Rodgers, the museum’s head curator.

Gleason is a music critic, academic and artist development consultant. Her work has appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, CREEM and the Oxford American. She is also a co-writer of Miranda Lambert’s “Y’all Eat Yet?”

Following her talk, Gleason will be available to sign copies of her book.

Guests may RSVP to join in person or pre-register to participate via Zoom. There is no cost to attend.

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Leaders, businesses honored by Danville-Pittsylvania chamber

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce honored businesses and local leaders at its annual awards event in late May.

The Professional and Community Engagement, or PACE, awards showcase young professionals under age 40 who either live or work in the Dan River region. Award recipients must have completed at least three years of professional work experience; demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their company or profession; and provide valuable service to the community.

PACE recipients were:

  • Lanie Davis, public information officer, Danville Public Schools
  • Connor Hudson, financial center manager, American National Bank
  • Cassie Williams Jones, associate vice president of university marketing and communications, Averett University
  • Evelyn Riley, executive director, Dan River Nonprofit Network
  • Jerry Wallace, president, Danville Community College

The chamber also recognized Bobby Wilkerson, known as the unofficial mayor of Ringgold, as the 2023 Chamber Champion.

The Danville Otterbots baseball team received the Pinnacle Small Business Award, which recognizes excellence in businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees.

The Pinnacle Award, the highest honor given by the chamber, was presented to the Danville Life Saving Crew.

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Awards recognize CTE programs in Southwest, Southside

Career and technical education programs in Southwest and Southside were among the 17 honorees at last week’s Creating Excellence Awards program in Richmond.

Among the programs honored by the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia’s Community Colleges:

  • Advisory Committee Award: Wythe County’s Education/Workforce Development Committee.
  • Business and Industry Partnership Awards: Henry County’s agricultural education program, serving Bassett High and Magna Vista High, at the Career Academy; Wythe County’s Manufacturing Excellence at the Wythe County Technology Center.
  • CTE State Award: Instrumentation and Control Automation Technology, nominated by New River Community College.