Citing strong contributions to journalism, public service and leadership, longtime Cape Girardeau newspaperman Gary W. Rust has been awarded the Ralph D. Casey Award by the Inland Press Association, one of the country's top newspaper trade associations.
Rust was recognized at a luncheon in his honor in late October at Inland's 117th annual meeting in Chicago. It was presented by Albert R. Tims, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.
"The secret to Gary's success gets back to his Missouri roots," Tims said at the luncheon. "It's steeped in his personal character: honesty, integrity, curiosity, trust, perseverance and respect."
The Ralph D. Casey Award is considered a top award in the journalism field and is named for the man who from 1930 to 1958 headed the School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota, where he played a key role in journalism education.
"This is one of the most important awards given out by the industry, and it's a tremendous honor for my dad," said Jon K. Rust, co-president of Rust Communications with his brother, Rex. "He worked hard to build this company, which he embarked upon in his love for public service. We're awfully proud of him."
Jon Rust said that the Inland Press Association has always been important to his father, who saw its conferences as a place to "share ideas, and join in the community and fellowship of newsmen facing similar challenges."
Rex Rust said that his father was always a family man first who also was dedicated to the newspaper business.
Rust's history in newspapers -- well-known in the Cape Girardeau area -- was recounted at the luncheon, from the time he purchased the small weekly Bulletin newspaper in 1967 with the goal of providing fair and accurate news reporting until he purchased the Southeast Missourian from Thomson Newspapers in 1986.
Rust is now chairman of the company that publishes 14 dailies, 33 weeklies, 10 shoppers and runs 12 printing operations in seven states. He was a board member of Inland Press Association and Suburban Newspapers of America, and is currently chairman of the Missouri Associated Press.
"Without hesitation, Gary Rust ranks among the most inspirational and dedicated individuals I have had the pleasure to be associated with, professionally and personally," said U.S. Sen. Kit Bond in his nomination letter.