Press Releases


For Immediate Release


Susan Van Dusen, IABC/Arkansas President


IABC/Arkansas to Honor Piazza, Dumas at October Luncheon

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/Arkansas) will honor Judge Chris Piazza and journalist Ernest Dumas at a luncheon at noon Friday, Oct. 24 at the Little Rock Club.

Piazza  will be named Communicator of the Year (COTY), while Dumas will receive the John K. Woodruff Award for Lifetime Achievement. Tickets for the event are $30 for IABC members and $40 for nonmembers. Visit to purchase tickets.

The COTY award is presented annually by IABC/Arkansas to an Arkansan who leads the way in fostering and participating in professional communication. The award is presented to a non-IABC member.

“Judge Piazza’s historic ruling on the unconstitutionality of Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban, resonated across the country and brought an important national conversation home to our state,” said Susan Van Dusen, IABC/Arkansas president.

Piazza has served as circuit judge in the Sixth Judicial District of Arkansas, Second Division, since 1990.

Established in 2007 in memory of the late journalist John Woodruff, the John K. Woodruff Award for Lifetime Achievement honors lifetime achievement and/or body of work in the field of professional business communication in Arkansas. The award is open to both members and non-members of IABC/Arkansas. This year’s recipient is the long-time Arkansas journalist Ernest Dumas.

“We’re honored to recognize Mr. Dumas for his many years of dedication to journalism in Arkansas and his commitment to the highest standards of his profession,” Van Dusen said.

Dumas’ journalism career began in high school and has spanned his entire life. While at the Arkansas Gazette, he was responsible for the newspaper’s coverage of the state Capitol and politics, including the administrations of governors Orval E. Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers and David Pryor. Dumas taught journalism for eight years at the University of Central Arkansas and remains a columnist for the Arkansas Times.

The COTY and Woodruff Award recipients are selected by the IABC/Arkansas Past Presidents' Council. Proceeds from this event fund student scholarships for communication majors at Harding University, Ouachita Baptist University and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Previous COTY recipients include: Gov. Mike Beebe, Philip Mann, Phyllis Brandon, Jo Luck, Lt. Terry Hastings, Dr. Fitzgerald Hill, Patrick Henry Hays, Steve Arrison, Michael Blakely, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jim Dailey, Richard Davies, John Deering, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Mike Huckabee, Robert Hupp, Keith Jackson, Charles L. Kelly, Jane McDaniel, Rex Nelson, Colleen Nick, AI Pollard, Craig Rains, Brenda Scisson, Bob Sells, Steve Stephens, Joe Swaty and Larry Woodard.

Previous Woodruff Award recipients include: the late Dale Nicholson Charlotte Schexnayder, Ronald A. Robinson, Terry Wallace, Leroy Donald, Ouida Cox and the late John K. Woodruff.

The International Association of Business Communicators, recognized as IABC, has grown to more than 15,000 members worldwide and links communicators in a global network that supports the highest professional standards of quality and innovation in organizational communication. The Arkansas chapter has been in existence since 1970. IABC/Arkansas helped communications students at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. form a student chapter – IABC/Ouachita – in the spring of 2008.

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