Mark Mikolajczyk, president and publisher of Florida Today, is the recipient of the 2010 RIT Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing.
He will receive the award—given by Rochester Institute of Technology—at 10 a.m. April 21 in Webb Auditorium on the RIT campus. As part of the program, Mikolajczyk, will present “Isaiah Thomas to Jon Stewart: Has the mission of news really changed?” The event is free and open to the public.
The Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing, named for one of America’s great patriot printers, recognizes outstanding contributions made to the publishing industry. Mikolajczyk is the 26th recipient of the award.
In 2006, Mikolajczyk was named president and publisher of Florida Today, which is part of the U.S. Community Publishing Division of Gannett Co. Inc. Last November, he was named South Group vice president and oversees Gannett’s Florida newspapers in Fort Myers, Tallahassee and Pensacola. A native of Cleveland, Mikolajczyk graduated from RIT in 1983 with a B.S. in printing management and technology.
Mikolajczyk started his career as a production coordinator for USA Today in Lansdale, Pa., in 1982—just months into the paper’s launch.
“Mark is an outstanding publisher because of what he learned at RIT,” says Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today and former chairman and president of Gannett Co. Inc. “USA Today hired Mark right out of college because of his color production experience. From running a pressroom to running a front office, he’s now one of Gannett’s most well rounded publishers. I think it’s terrific that RIT is honoring Mark with this award.”
In 1983, Mikolajczyk became night operations manager at USA Today’s headquarters in Arlington, Va. His career path from there included jobs at the Cincinnati Enquirer and Times Herald in Port Huron, Mich. In 1996, he joined Gannett’s corporate staff in Arlington, Va., as director of production for the newspaper division. He moved up the ranks to hold positions as vice president of production and senior vice president of operations for the newspaper division. Prior to his current position, Mikolajczyk served as president and CEO of the Detroit Newspaper Partnership from 2005 to 2006.
“I’m very proud of what Mark has accomplished in his career,” says Bob Hacker, professor emeritus from RIT’s School of Print Media and one of Mark’s former teachers. “In years past, it was rare to see someone who has come up through the operations side of the business go on to become a publisher. It pleases me to see one of my students as a publisher and be part of this prestigious group of Isaiah Thomas Award recipients.”
Past recipients of the Isaiah Thomas Award include Al Neuharth, Tom Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the New York Times Co. and publisher of The New York Times.
RIT established the Isaiah Thomas Award in 1979 to honor leaders in the newspaper industry. The award is named in tribute to an early leader of the American printing industry. In 1779, Isaiah Thomas created The Massachusetts Spy at a print shop known as the “sedition factory” by the British colonial government. Additionally, in 1810, Thomas wrote The History of Printing in America, which was regarded as the basic source of information on early American printing and publishing.