The annual Scott Wright Student Essay Contest is in honor of Scott W. Wright (July 27, 1964 - June 08, 2003), past editor of Community College Week, recipient of the 1998 Award for Excellence in Higher Education Journalism, and the reporter who brought national attention to developmental education and the unique mission community colleges possess in providing an accessible education.
Scott was a fun loving and adventurous spirit whose passion for journalism and telling the world’s stories took him from hometown newspapers in Vermont and Texas to the ranks of the nation’s top education publications.
Scott made his mark as assistant managing editor for Education Week, a national newspaper covering K-12, higher education, bilingual and vocational education, private schools, and philanthropy around the country. Scott had earlier worked as the editor of Community College Week and then as the managing editor for Cox, Matthews, and Associates Inc., at that time the publisher of Community College Week and Black Issues in Higher Education (now known as Diverse: Issues In Higher Education). Immediately before joining Education Week, Scott was assistant managing editor of The CQ Researcher, a publication of Congressional Quarterly, Inc. In 1988, Scott joined the Dallas Times Herald as a reporter. He went on to positions as a reporter and editor at the Austin American-Statesman where he won several journalism awards.
Scott was a passionate and prolific writer with a flair for capturing a scene, an emotion, and a moment in time, all with a commitment to giving voice to the communities and causes that struggled to be heard. His prose captivated readers whether he was reporting about the amusements at the county fair or the devastation of the Oklahoma City bombing
After graduating from West Liberty High School (West Liberty, IA) as salutatorian in 1982, Scott spent a year as an exchange student in the Dominican Republic. The Iowa native was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Iowa State University, graduating in 1987 with a double major in journalism and Spanish.
As a journalist Scott followed the story, traveling throughout much of the country. Whether he settled in the northeast, southwest, or the nation’s capital, he always brought with him a little bit of home: a plank from his father’s barn, one of his mother’s antiques, pictures of his prized calves, and a farm-bred charm that allowed him to make friends quickly and forever.