Baldwin, recently retired chair of the Department of Mass Media, made a gift to the Foundation to establish the award.
The renewable scholarship will be awarded to a student fully admitted to the mass media program who has at least a 2.5 grade point average and completes an essay. The essay must be 100 words or less and focus on the student’s leadership experience and their future career plans in mass media, including their commitment to diversity.
Baldwin graduated from Richland High School in Essex, Mo., in 1975. Two weeks out of high school, she attended her first two classes at Southeast Missouri State University. One of them was a mass communication class, “Survey of Mass Communication.” In 1978, she graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, with an English major and journalism minor, and in 1980 she graduated from Southeast with a Master of Arts in English.
She served as an adjunct professor in the Department of English from 1980-1983, and in 1983, she joined the newly-created Department of Mass Communication as an instructor and adviser to the yearbook, the “Sagamore.” She earned her doctoral degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1991. She became chair of Southeast’s Department of Mass Media in January 2009 and served as chair and full professor of the department until her retirement in August 2012.
Baldwin created the UI 382 “History and Philosophy of American Mass Media” class and the MC 304 “Diversity in Communication” course for the department. She says she is delighted both classes are required for mass communication majors because she believes “a firm grounding in the history and philosophy of American mass media is important and that a commitment to diversity is crucial for mass media practitioners today.”
Baldwin says her love of her students and of teaching–which she considers the best job in the world–prompted the creation of this scholarship.
She is married to Dr. Henry Sessoms, Southeast professor emeritus of English, and is the daughter of Billy and Rebecca Baldwin of Charter Oak, Mo.