Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, professor and chair of the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University, has been awarded the U.S. President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to the community.
The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest-ranking award as part of the President’s Volunteer Service Award Program (PVSA). Global International Alliance and People of Choice, a certifying organization granted authority to give out PVSA to volunteers, presented the award to Buck for her 4,010 hours of service.
During an award’s ceremony on Nov. 19, Buck was recognized for her dedication to ensure the better of others and her proven track record of providing compassionate assistance and labor within her various groups/organizations and communities for peace and humanity.
When accepting the award, Buck paid special tribute to her parents, who were at the presentation. “They are always cheering but I am also very aware that I learned every bit of service-minded work that I do, I learned it from them,” she said.
Southeast President Dr. Carlos Vargas attended and offered words of praise for Buck as well. “We are lucky and proud that you are here. That you are part of this community, that you are part of this faculty, that you impact students because that is what we are all about here,” he said. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have you as a member of this community because that makes us richer.”
Buck is a former journalist and public relations practitioner. She holds a juris doctorate emphasizing intellectual property law from the University of Memphis. Her Master of Administration specializing in public administration and Bachelor of Arts in mass communication, both from Southeast Missouri State University.
Buck is a teacher, scholar and author who has been recognized for her work as faculty adviser to the Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast. She is a highly called upon presenter and trainer who has led national conversations over the past two years on the need for improved media diversity and inclusion inside newsrooms and within news content.
Buck recently ended a term as President-Elect for the College Media Association and previously was elected CMA Vice President of Member Support. In 2016, she was a co-winner of the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award for innovations in teaching Diversity in Communication. In 2013, she was named a Kopenhaver Fellow (inaugural class) by the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University and to the Commission on the Status of Women of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
She currently serves as the board chair of the People Organized to Revitalize Community Healing (PORCH) Initiative and director of public relations for the Missouri Conference Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and she holds multiple leadership positions at Perry Chapel AME Church in Charleston, Missouri. Other service activities have included:
- Member, City of Cape Girardeau/Cape Girardeau Schools Ad Hoc Aquatics Committee, 2019.
- Member, City of Cape Girardeau Transportation Improvement Programs Transportation Trust Fund 6 Committee, 2019.
- Member, Jerry McDowell II Memorial Scholarship Committee, 2006-present.
- Co-Founder, Professional Sisters Network, 2013-2017.
- Webmaster and public relations strategist, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Missouri Annual Conference, St. Louis-Cape Girardeau District, 2011-2017.
- Consultant, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Program – Kids’ Beat, 2011-present.
- Founding board chair, Cape Girardeau Boys and Girls Club, 2003-2004.
- Member, Cape Girardeau Civic Center Board of Directors, 1998-2003.
Buck is a proud native of the Missouri Bootheel and says her mission is to inspire and encourage local residents to learn and experience all they can, then share their gifts to improve the region. Her goals are to constantly improve and share her knowledge in all things involving media law and media diversity so she can train future media professionals to stay out of jail, keep their houses, and improve their industry, and in doing so, improve the world.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was founded by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2003. The award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the United States and inspires others to take action. More information can be found at presidentialserviceawards.gov.
Top Photo Caption: Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck (center) with Southeast President Dr. Carlos Vargas (right) and Southeast Provost Dr. Mike Godard (left).
Second Photo Caption: Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck (center) with Southeast faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Media, as well as her family and members of the Global International Alliance and People of Choice.