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Larry Drake, PhD, pledges support to The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award

Larry Drake, 2015 doctoral graduate from Media Psychology program, pledged $1,000 to challenge fellow Fielding alumni, faculty members, and students to support the cause he deeply cares about: The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award at Fielding.

“Mike helped shape my experience at Fielding,” says Dr. Drake. “He was committed to social justice. I am quite humbled to continue to assist in perpetuating the spirit of kindness and commitment to excellence that were the embodiment of my cohort mate and friend!”

Mike Neal was one of the pioneers of Fielding’s Media Psychology program. He was known for his collaborative and creative spirit, activist approach to scholarship, and generous support of his fellow students. He led his peers to present their work at prestigious conferences around the world. Mike wanted to use media to advocate for positive change. He graduated with a PhD in Media Psychology in 2013, and died from cancer just a month later at age 52.

In memory and in honor of Mike’s spirit, Larry and other Media Psychology alumni, students, and faculty established The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award. It’s an annual student scholarship given to one or more Media Psychology students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, media innovation, and collaboration with and support of fellow media scholars. To date, 10 Fielding students have received the award.

Every year Fielding students and alumni participate in a fundraising campaign to replenish the fund and ensure the award is available to the next generation of outstanding media psychology students. Inspired by Larry’s gift, faculty member Garry Hare, PhD, and program alum and now director Jerri Lynn Hogg, PhD, have both pledged to contribute to the award fund.

Join Larry’s challenge and your media psychology Fielding peers today and make a gift to support the inspiring student award that keeps the legacy of Mike Neal alive. Every gift counts!

For other ways to give, or if you have any questions, contact Elena Nicklasson, director of development, at or 805-898-2926.