NPPF Launches The Rich Clarkson Founders Scholarship


Photojournalist, editor, and NPPA past president Rich Clarkson. Photograph © 2011 by Joey Terrill (

DURHAM, NC (September 29, 2014) – The Board of Directors of the National Press Photographers Foundation today is pleased to announce the creation of a new annual scholarship, The Rich Clarkson Founders Scholarship.

“The Foundation is so honored that Rich Clarkson has chosen NPPF to establish a scholarship in his name,” Foundation president Tom Hardin said today. “Rich is the most important voice, mentor, and leader that photojournalism has known.”

The first Clarkson Founders Scholarship $2,000 stipend will be awarded in mid-2015, Hardin said. As with most NPPF scholarships, the deadline for entry will be in early March of each year through the Foundation’s Web site.

“On the eve of The Foundation’s 40th anniversary, the Rich Clarkson Founders Scholarship is a testament to his commitment to photojournalism education,” Hardin said. “This scholarship will enable future generations of student photojournalists to commit to professionalism, excellence, and generosity as practiced for so many years by Rich Clarkson.”

Executive director Chip Deale also offered NPPA’s thanks to Clarkson for this new educational opportunity.

“The leadership of NPPA and I join with the foundation in expressing our gratitude to Rich Clarkson for his generosity that has made this new scholarship possible,” Deale said. “Rich is one of visual journalism’s true legends, and the scholarship will ensure his lasting legacy to a profession to which he has contributed so much in so many ways for such a prolonged period.”

There will be a three-person scholarship committee established to choose the Clarkson scholarship winner, Hardin said. The selection committee will look for a person whose work ethic demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and leadership as a photojournalism student. As with all NPPF scholarships, applicants for the Clarkson scholarship must be enrolled in an accredited 4-year college or a university, either as an undergraduate or graduate student.

For 25 years Clarkson was the director of photography for The Topeka Capital-Journal. He also led the photography and art departments at The Denver Post as assistant managing editor/graphics, and he was National Geographic magazine’s director of photography and senior assistant editor in the 1980s.

Clarkson has been a contract and contributing photographer for Sports Illustrated magazine throughout his long career. More than 30 Sports Illustrated covers have displayed his photographs – the first in 1964. This year in Dallas he photographed his 59th NCAA Final Four Men’s basketball championship. Through the years Clarkson has captured the dramatic and storytelling moments at sporting events, especially at college basketball and track and field competitions, and he has covered six Olympics as well.

Today Clarkson leads the publishing and photography company Clarkson Creative, headquartered in downtown Denver. Almost 25 years ago Clarkson founded and continues to run the very successful Summit Workshops that feature some of photojournalism’s most successful photographers and visual artists on the faculties.

In 1972 Clarkson received NPPA’s highest honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, for his lifetime of contributions to photojournalism and the organization. He was also the recipient of NPPA’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award in 1978. At the University of Kansas, his alma mater, Clarkson received distinguished recognitions including the William Allen White Medal and the Fred Ellsworth Award, which is the highest Alumni recognition given instead of the school awarding honorary degrees. He graduated from the college with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1956. And among his many career awards and recognitions, in 2011 Clarkson was a Lucie Awards Honoree for his achievements in sports photojournalism. And in 2013 Clarkson’s book “Greatest Photographs Of The American West” won the top award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Clarkson is one of four Founders of the National Press Photographers Foundation, which was established in 1975. He is also a past president of the National Press Photographers Association, serving in that office in 1975 and as vice president in 1974. Clarkson headed NPPA’s Council of Presidents, and in 1995 he created NPPA’s Gala 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, DC.

As a mentor and industry leader, Clarkson is known for hiring many of today’s most creative people, each exhibiting great people skills and a high degree of energy and passion. Whether at the intern level or for top publications, Clarkson’s legacy is to select photojournalists for their ability to learn, discover, and practice good journalism.

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