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AECOM Center for Sports Administration names Jackie Reau recipient of 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award

Wednesday, February 3 2021 10:05am

Reau is CEO of Game Day Communications and a trustee for the Ohio University Foundation

The AECOM Center for Sports Administration is pleased to announce Jackie Reau (BSJ ’92, MSA ’12) as the recipient of the 2021 Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Jackie embodies all the best qualities of an Ohio University Sports Administration alumna. She is in the classroom with our students, in our board room with university leadership, collaborating with our faculty and alumni professionally, and, finally, supporting our Bobcat athletes,” said Matt Cacciato, executive director of the AECOM Center for Sports Administration.

Reau is CEO and co-founder of Game Day Communications, an award-winning multimedia marketing firm based in Cincinnati that started in 2002. Game Day works with sports organizations, hospitality and entertainment groups, and nonprofits producing anywhere from 30-40 events per year for their clients. Reau also serves as a trustee for the Ohio University Foundation.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University this year,” said Reau. “Ohio University has a fond spot in my heart and I will cherish this special honor.”

In her role at Game Day, Reau specializes in strategic and crisis communications planning, media relations management, and social media planning and execution. Her experience helping clients through crises has proven to be especially valuable during the pandemic.

The Game Day staff had to transition into rapid response teams in March to help their clients manage their events and business decisions. Reau watched the daily press conferences from Governor DeWine in Ohio and Governor Beshear in Kentucky to learn what changes were being enacted across both states and how those changes would affect Game Day’s clients.

Cacciato said Reau has been immensely helpful as the college has considered new programs. “Her advice and good counsel on matters of curriculum and careers are always invaluable.”

Reau leads an advisory group of faculty, students, and staff who are studying how the University engages with esports. The group has implemented esports as a curriculum through the esports certificate, a joint effort of the College of Business and the McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies in the Scripps College of Communication. The advisory group also has been instrumental in providing support to Bobcat Esports, the largest university esports club in the state with more than 220 members.

Reau served as a College of Business Fellow when the college was developing the Festivals, Events, and Entertainment Management Certificate program. The Fellows were responsible for bringing industry into the classroom by providing content for the areas of specialization, assisting with course design for the management course and specialization courses, and co-teaching classes with sports administration faculty.

In 2017, Reau received the Medal of Merit, awarded to OHIO alumni who are recognized for excellence in their chosen fields. The Public Relations Society of America’s Cincinnati chapter named her Public Relations Practitioner of the Year in 2007. The chapter awarded her its highest distinction in 2011 when she received the Werner-VonderHaar-Bogart Award.

Prior to her role with Game Day, Reau got her start in health care at The Christ Hospital and later worked as director of marketing at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

About the Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award

The Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to a graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration program who has positively impacted the sports industry and the lives of others around them.

The award was founded in 1982 after the graduate program had been in existence for 15 years. Because many program graduates were already making a significant mark in the sport industry at this time, the faculty and administrators wanted to recognize these achievements. The award was created to specifically recognize those graduates who were making a noteworthy contribution to the sport industry through professional achievement, as well as making a notable contribution back to the program. The first recipient of the award was Andy Dolich from the class of 1971.

The award not only recognizes a standout graduate, but it helps to showcase the Sports Administration graduate program, and demonstrate the caliber of the students. In addition, the award recognizes Dr. Charles Higgins, program director from 1977-1994 and current professor emeritus.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is officially presented to the honoree during Symposium weekend. Along with a variety of events held for the alumni and current students of the MSA program, the weekend is closed out with a keynote speech by the distinguished alumni.