Lerude wins lifetime achievement award
Left to right: Warren Lerude with his wife Janet and Senator Dick Bryan with his wife Bonnie at the Nevada Sagebrush Alumni Dinner. Photo by Mike Higdon.
Story by RSJ Student Writer Tyler Hersko
Warren Lerude, a Reynolds School professor emeritus and Pulitzer Prize winner, received the 2015 Frank McCulloch Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
The award, which was established in 2013, was granted by The Nevada Sagebrush Alumni Association during its annual banquet at Pinocchio’s Bar and Grill. Recipients are selected for their commitments to supporting The Nevada Sagebrush student newspaper and general excellence in the journalism field.
Lerude served as the Sagebrush’s editor from 1959-60 before moving on to the Nevada State Journal and the Reno Evening Gazette. Although his career has spanned various editorships and publishing roles to reporting for the Associated Press, Lerude’s journalism career had an unlikely beginning.
“I drove up to the university … a 17-year-old with huaraches on and a dirty t-shirt.” Lerude said. “The journalism president looked at me and said, ‘You’re gonna be a journalist.’ I said, ‘What’s a journalist?’”
Since then, Lerude’s career has impacted the university on several levels. As the Sagebrush’s editor, he penned a number of inflammatory articles against the Associated Students of the University of Nevada senate. Years later, Lerude was a driving force behind the construction of the Reynolds School of Journalism in 1984.
According to The Nevada Sagebrush Alumni Association president Amy Beck, Lerude has had a particularly profound impact on the university.
“Lerude is an institutional foundation that we couldn’t do without,” Beck said. “He’s touched people as a mentor, teacher, coworker and friend.”
In addition to his work at the university, Lerude received a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1977 and has penned multiple best-selling novels. Although he retired as a journalism professor in 2009, Lerude maintains an office at the Reynolds School and spoke highly of the Sagebrush and its history at the university.
“The Sagebrush is an iconic institution operating over three centuries,” Lerude said. “If it wants to recognize anyone for what they’ve done in a career of journalism, that’s good enough for me.
Past recipients of the award include Sagebrush editors Guy Clifton and Frank McCulloch.