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Picture of space

Best Big Mag in the Country

And Alumni Magazine of the Year. Top honors for Santa Clara Magazine.

And Alumni Magazine of the Year. Top honors for Santa Clara Magazine. 

We like to think we set the bar pretty high when it comes to the work we do. Which is why we’re jazzed to share this summertime news: Santa Clara Magazine was awarded a gold medal for best big-circulation university magazine in the country. Judging was done by our peers and awarded by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

That gold medal for best overall big mag is a first for us. It recognizes the best magazine with a circulation over 75,000. It’s a particular honor to receive this recognition when silver and bronze medal winners include magazines from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, both of which are smart and consistently outstanding publications.

Here’s another first: The Catholic Press Association (CPA) named us Alumni Magazine of the Year.

Those are the two big awards. Between them, the judges at CASE and CPA also honored our mag with medals and awards for photography, writing, illustration, and design. Here’s a run-down with links to the stories.

CASE Golds and Silver 

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education announced the winners of national awards in Washington, D.C., in June. Competition includes magazines from the United States, Canada, as well as some from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Our latest hardware:

  • Gold Medal for best magazine with a circulation over 75,000
  • Gold Medal for best individual photograph—“World Refugee Day” by Kristóf Hölvényi (Summer 2016)
  • Silver Medal for best column or opinion piece—“The Art of George Tooker” by Dana Gioia (Summer 2016) 

In awarding the gold medal for overall publication, the judges noted: “Santa Clara Magazine pulls together all of these approaches: a smart, deep publication with beautiful design, quality photo selection, and rich printing on uncoated stock.… The entire magazine is well considered and constructed, holding together without weak points or pieces that feel ill-considered or forced. The magazine is filled, in the words of one judge, with “nice surprises”—simple but effective typographic elements, appropriately used photographs, some shorter pieces that say just enough to convey meaning without overstaying their welcome.… There's so much to take in. Santa Clara Magazine represents its university well and is deserving of highest honors.”

Six Awards from CPA 

The Catholic Press Association recognized Santa Clara Magazine with half a dozen awards in June at their annual awards banquet, hosted this year Quebec City, Canada. They also recognized us with a trio of honorable mentions. The top awards:

  • Alumni Magazine of the Year
  • Best photograph in an alumni magazine—“World Refugee Day” by Kristóf Hölvényi
  • Best profile in an alumni magazine—“An American Story” by Steven Boyd Saum
  • Best illustration in any publication—“Dr. Jerome” by Anna+Elena=Balbusso
  • Best editorial title and lead-in page in any publication—“Let There Be Light” by Robert Zimmerman
  • Best layout of article in a national general interest publication—“Dr. Jerome” by David DeCosse 

Here’s some of what the judges had to say: “A gorgeous magazine: sharply designed, reader-friendly layouts, high energy on the page and yet high readability.… If this magazine is a good indication, Santa Clara is a hopping place. Editors see a mission of providing a rounded experience of what is going on, and what dreams are bubbling from the campus.”

The magazine earned three honorable mentions as well:

  • Best Multiple-Picture Feature Package—“Where are they taking us?” with writing and photography by Colleen Sinsky ’10 (Summer 2016)
  • Best Review in Any Publication—“The Art of George Tooker” by Dana Gioia (Summer 2016)
  • Best Feature Article in an Alumni Magazine—“Mission Critical” by Harold Gutmann, telling the story of how the Santa Clara campus responded to a meningitis crisis in 2015, told in the voices of people who were at the center of the storm (Summer 2016)

Earlier this year we were recognized with multiple MAGGIE Awards from the Western Publishing Association: best consumer magazine design, best editorial photograph, and best interview or profile.

Likewise, judges for the western region of CASE honored us with seven medals—including a pair of golds for illustration and photography, as well as silver medals for staff writing, best article, and photography.


In April your magazine was honored with an unprecedented four MAGGIE awards, presented by the Western Publishing Association. The MAGGIEs honor the best of magazines west of the Mississippi and are presented at an Oscars-style ceremony in Los Angeles.

The year’s honors: best magazine published by an association or nonprofit; best consumer magazine publication design; best editorial photograph for “Where are they taking us?” by Colleen Sinsky ’10; and best interview or profile for “Let There Be Light,” the profile of Frank Cepollina ’59, the NASA maverick who saved the Hubble Telescope, written by Robert Zimmerman.

Suffice to say it’s been a good spring and summer. Wait until you see what’s next!


STEVEN BOYD SAUM is the editor of Santa Clara Magazine.


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