Former White House photographer receives inaugural alumni award

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Pete Souza, Kansas State alumn and chief White House photographer for former president Barack Obama, received K-State’s inaugural alumni excellence award Friday.

“When I look back at all these different roads I took in my career, the path every single time leads back to K-State, and especially the K-State Collegian,” Souza said at a banquet in the Alumni Center ballroom. “It was really the beginning of my life as a photographer and photojournalist.”

Souza worked on a master’s degree at K-State in journalism and mass communications while developing his skills as a photographer for the Collegian and the Royal Purple yearbook.

Souza previously served as the official White House photographer for former president Ronald Reagan, national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in Washington and a freelance photographer for National Geographic.

“The fact that he attributes it all to K-State kind of shows the power of our institution,” said Jack Ayres, student body president and senior in chemical engineering. “He’s an excellent inaugural figure for the award.”

Some of the most well-known photos of Souza’s career were showcased in the lobby of the Alumni Center.

“If you look at [Souza’s] photos carefully … there’s not many posed shots where they’re all standing there grinning,” university president Richard Myers said. “If you can get that moment, you know it. Not everybody has that knack.”

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Contributing writer for the Collegian. I’m a senior studying journalism and mass communications and working on minors in political science and music. I also manage digital operations as a communications fellow with the Kansas Democratic Party; I do not report on or write about anything political unless it shows up in the opinion section.