If he could talk as fast as he thinks, nobody would be able to understand Mark Witherspoon. The fast-talking Texan not only personifies the First Amendment, but has taught it and its importance to Iowa State students since 1999, when he became the editorial adviser of the Iowa State Daily.
Spoon, as he’s affectionately known in Hamilton Hall, has organized the school’s annual First Amendment Day celebration, which promotes the First Amendment and the freedoms it protects, since 2003. Spoon was awarded the Louis E. Inglehart First Amendment Award at the College Media Advisers’ national convention last October for his “extraordinary, long-term contributions in support of the First Amendment.”
This award is the second Witherspoon has been awarded with Inglehart’s name. He was awarded the Society of College Journalists’ Louis Inglehart Freedom of Expression Award in 2013.
“All I really care about is the students and making sure they’re succeeding, but if there’s one award I would care about winning, it’s one with Louis Inglehart’s name on it,” says Witherspoon. “Winning back-to-back Louie Inglehart awards is like the greatest thing that could happen to me, if you’re counting awards.”