New journalism award to honor Alice Handelman

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BY ELLEN FUTTERMAN , EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

I’ve known Alice Handelman about 25 years, though in the beginning, as an editor, I used to run the other way when I saw her coming. That’s because Alice is like a dog with a bone about the causes for which she is passionate.

One of her passions is Women of Achievement, which recognizes and honors women who through their volunteer efforts, have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life in the St. Louis community. Alice was honored with this award in 2002 and has been a champion for it ever since. A year doesn’t go by without her reaching out first, to ask me to publicize the nominations, and second, to feature the Jewish honorees in the Jewish Light. And if I’m a little slow to take action, I can count on Alice to “gently” nudge me to get my tush in gear.

I no longer run the other way when I see Alice coming and haven’t for many years. Her passion for the causes, people and institutions she believes in are so steadfast and genuine, I find myself caught up in her enthusiasm. As we’ve gotten to know each other and become friends, I have found her to be loyal and thoughtful, and a good sounding board. As a longtime journalist and public relations director, Alice has a love for the written word that is irreproachable.

New scholarship fund in Handelman’s name

Earlier this month, the St. Louis Press Club announced a new scholarship in Alice’s name called the Alice Handelman Scholarship Fund for Feature Writing. Thanks to an $18,000 grant by Jewish philanthropists Michael and Carol Staenberg, $3,600 will be donated annually for the next five years to her Scholarship Fund. Alice is a longtime board member and past president of the Press Club.

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“The scholarship was established to recognize Alice’s incredible, ongoing contributions not only to Press Club; but, also, to the St. Louis journalistic community,” said Joan Berkman, president of the St. Louis Press Club. “She has been an inspiration to so many young people to pursue their dreams as a journalist and know her scholarship fund will continue to enhance those efforts to nurture new journalists in the future.”

Interestingly, Alice was the recipient of a similar award — the Besse Marks Memorial Scholarship– when she attended the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, where she was a reporter for Mizzou’s Maneater student newspaper and the Columbia Missourian. 

In receiving this scholarship at the Press Club’s annual meeting Alice said, “Feature writing is my passion. It gives us opportunities to learn about and understand others and allows us to travel to places we might never see . . . into the lives of people we might never know . . . and to connect with worthy causes we might not have considered. It goes beyond the facts — and connects us with each other and our world.

“May the work of the recipients of this scholarship be inspirational and tell stories that shine a light on people and places and entertain and inform readers for generations to come.”

Six decades as a journalist

Six decades as a journalist have given Alice opportunities to interview professional athletes, performers, composers, hometown heroes and — most significantly — the president of ZBT fraternity, Howard Handelman, to whom she was happily married for 55 years. He passed away in the fall of 2020.

After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Alice worked for 10 years as a feature writer for the St. Louis Blues and taught a class for women at Meramec Community College: “How to Understand Hockey.” She also hosted “Alice in Hockeyland,” a feature news show on KPLR-TV where she interviewed members of the St. Louis Blues and their wives.

In 1981, Alice became director of community relations for Jewish Center for Aged, a position she held until 2000.  While there, she was honored by Jewish Federation of St. Louis with the Fred A. Goldstein Professional Excellence Award. Alice is currently a columnist for the Ladue News, writing a monthly Movers & Shakers column in which she highlights the contributions of St. Louisans whose lives enrich our community.

Honors and awards

Alice has received numerous writing awards from Missouri Professional Communicators, National Federation of Press Women, Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. In 2013, she was honored by the Women’s Auxiliary for the Jewish Aged at their spring luncheon.

She is also a vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Light. In that capacity, she is a passionate and supportive of what we are doing both in print and digitally, and is willing to help with whatever project needs attention.

Congratulations to Alice Handelman on this scholarship in your name. Hopefully, it will attract up-and-coming journalists with your passion, determination and ability.