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Gridiron Awards Dinner 2015

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5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel
139 East Kilbourn Avenue Milwaukee WI, 53202


Ann Compton Named Milwaukee Press Club’s 2015 Sacred Cat Honoree

Ricardo Diaz and Linda Mellowes to be honored as Headliners

MILWAUKEE, WI—The Milwaukee Press Club today announced that former ABC News White House Correspondent and Hall of Fame journalist Ann Compton will be the Club’s 2015 Sacred Cat Award honoree. The award, which has been given annually since 1973, recognizes excellence in journalism at the national level.

Compton will accept the award at the Club’s annual Gridiron Dinner, Friday May 15th, at the InterContinental Hotel in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Press Club will also honor 2015 Headliners Ricardo Diaz, United Community Center Executive Director and Linda Mellowes, community volunteer and fundraiser, as well as the winners of the 2014 Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism competition.

WISN Channel 12 news anchor Kathy Mykleby and Johnson Controls director of global media relations Fraser Engerman will emcee.

Sacred Cat award winner Ann Compton is a Hall of Fame journalist who has covered everything from presidential campaigns to the White House to the fall of the Soviet Union.

For four decades, Compton had a unique perch from which to watch history unfold. As ABC News White House Correspondent, she covered administrations, campaigns, turmoil and the ebb/flow of America’s political leanings from the end of Watergate to the events that led to the rise of ISIS. And, she did it all while blazing new journalistic trails for women in being the first woman to cover the Oval Office for a network on a full-time basis, and one of the youngest reporters ever to get such an assignment.

From Gerald Ford and the dying days of Watergate to the start of Barack Obama’s second term, Compton covered seven presidential campaigns including floor work at conventions and two stints as a national debate panelist. From Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to the Bushes with Bill Clinton in between, she was in an unrivaled position to see Washington at its best, and occasionally, it’s worst. The end of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, Middle East upheaval, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan were all part of her beat.

And, on that awful day in 2001, Compton was the only broadcast reporter allowed to stay with President Bush aboard Air Force One, watching with others on a grainy television as one World Trade Center tower fell, and then the other. Her work that day — as well as that of her production staff — won Emmy and Peabody honors as well as the Silver Baton/Alfred duPont Columbia University Award.  Compton was inducted into the Journalist Hall of Fame in 2000 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2005.

“We are honored to have someone of Ann Compton’s caliber as our Sacred Cat honoree,” said Mark Kass, Milwaukee Press Club president. “She has covered all 50 states with presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies through seven presidential campaigns. We are looking forwarding to having her share some of her incredible experiences with us and to give us a fascinating glimpse at what goes on in Washington, D.C.”

Past Sacred Cats include Jonathan Alter, Cokie Roberts, Walter Cronkite, Malcolm Forbes, Judy Woodruff, Michael Bloomberg and Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

The Headliner Awards are presented annually to those who are making a positive difference in Wisconsin.

Ricardo Diaz is executive director of the United Community Center, one of the largest social service agencies in the country serving the Latinos.

A committed advocate for education and the Latino community, Diaz is in his second stint as leader of the UCC. He led the organization in the 1980s, and then worked for the City of Milwaukee, serving as Commissioner of City Development and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Housing Authority. He returned to the top job at the UCC in 2003.

Under his leadership there have been several major expansions of the agency, including a center to serve elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, a new elderly housing complex and senior center in conjunction with the Housing Authority. Additions and renovations of the Bruce Guadalupe Community School include new elementary science labs, an early childhood center, and new classrooms in the middle school. UCC is in the midst of an $8 million capital campaign to expand the school and ultimately increase enrollment by 600 to almost 1600 students.

He is a board member for Pearls for Teen Girls, Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, Alverno College Board of Trustees, and the Green Bay Packers board.

Linda Mellowes is a community volunteer who is making a huge difference in southeastern Wisconsin. In fact, Mellowes is the person other community leaders often turn to when they need to raise money for a good cause or to help an important non-profit agency. A Feb. 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about Mellowes called her “one of the more important leaders in Milwaukee’s nonprofit community, a person who brings together organizations, causes and people.

Mellowes has overseen more than $13 million in charitable contributions made in recent years by the Charter Manufacturing Company Foundation. During her career, she has chaired seven nonprofit boards, including the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Columbia St. Mary’s and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Linda and John Mellowes gave $1.5 million to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in November 2014 to endow the John A. and Linda Mellowes Family Chair in Intensive Care.

Past Headliners include Michael Pink, Stephen Roell, Barry Alvarez, Jane Pettit, Howard Fuller, Bud Selig, James Lovell, Ben and Steve Marcus and Les Aspin.

Tickets for the Gridiron Dinner are available by booking below.  The cost is $65 per individual or $500 for a table of eight. Corporate sponsorship levels are also available.

Founded in 1885, the Milwaukee Press Club is the oldest continuously operating press club in North America. Its members represent a diverse community of media-focused professionals from nearly every local media outlet, and with a strong contingent of media, public relations and marketing professionals and individuals with an interest in the press.

To view past Sacred Cat Awards, visit:

For past Headliner Award winners, see:

Booking Information for Attendees:
Entrée Choices:
Beef) – Lakefront Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs with White Cheddar Cheese Grits and Market Vegetables
(Chicken) – Pan Seared Ale Brined Chicken with Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Potato Pancake, Market Vegetables and Truffle Cream Demi
(Fish) – Herb Grilled Salmon Filet with Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Pecans, market Vegetables and Maple Sage Cream Sauce
(Vegetarian) – Artisan Cheese Ravioli with Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, Buratta Cheese and Light Champagne Cream
(Please contact us for any special dietary needs.)


Event Sponsors

Ally Sponsors:

  • Children's Wisconsin

  • Kane Communications Group

  • We Energies

Once A Year Advertisers:

  • Brewers Community Foundation

  • Fiduciary Management, Inc.

  • Greater Milwaukee Committee

  • Green Bay Packers

  • Marquette University

  • Milwaukee Business Journal

  • Mueller Communications

  • Lowe Group

  • UW-Milwaukee

Table Sponsor:

  • BMO Harris Bank

  • Charter Manufacturing Inc.

  • Wisconsin Gazette

In-Kind Sponsor:

  • InterContinental Hotel Milwaukee


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Bookings are closed for this event.

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