Former SPC department chairperson, wife create journalism scholarship endowment

LEVELLAND – In an effort to provide support for South Plains College students interested in majoring in print journalism, photojournalism or media communications, the former SPC Communications Department chairperson and his wife recently contributed $10,000 to the Board of Directors of the SPC Foundation to create a scholarship endowment. The Charles L. and Cathy L. Ehrenfeld Journalism Scholarship Endowment will assist future media professionals.

Mr. Charles “Charlie” Ehrenfeld served 26 years during his two stints at South Plains College.

“Being a journalist gave me many thrills,” Ehrenfeld said. “But being able to touch lives in some small way in the classroom was perhaps more meaningful and rewarding. This scholarship will continue to impact lives for many years to come.”

The New Jersey native graduated from Parsippany Hills High School and then attended the University of Arkansas, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He accepted his first professional job at the newspaper in Denver City three weeks after graduating from UA, and he served as the editor of a biweekly newspaper for the next two years.

Mr. Ehrenfeld worked as the editor of the newspaper, where he gained valuable experience learning all facets of the industry. Ehrenfeld moved to Lubbock in 1985 to become a sportswriter for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. Three years later, he and Cathy Luck were married in Lubbock.

After returning to the newspaper in Denver City and then working at a small advertising agency, the opportunity opened for Mr. Ehrenfeld to work at South Plains College as the college’s first sports information coordinator.

“I was the first to keep live stats on a computer at a game, and I created the records for men’s basketball through the years,” he said.

After seven years with SPC, Ehrenfeld accepted a position as the assistant managing editor for the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. His office was in TTUHSC’s Department of Internal Medicine (and across the hall from his wife’s).

EhrenfeldMr. Ehrenfeld worked at TTUHSC for two years before returning to the AJ. He worked as a medical writer and won several awards from the Texas Medical Association, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society for medical news and feature writing. All the while, he was pursuing a master’s degree (and later, doctoral course work) at Texas Tech. In 2003, he was hired by John Sparks, who would become his mentor and good friend, to serve as a journalism instructor at SPC.

As a professor, Mr. Ehrenfeld taught print journalism, photojournalism and public relations courses, as well as serving as the advisor and instructor for the Plainsman Press, the college’s award-winning campus newspaper.

“For 20 summers,” Mr. Ehrenfeld remembers. “I served as a photography and journalism instructor for the college’s Upward Bound program, one of the more rewarding experiences of my life because I too am a first-generation college student.

“From 2012 to 2021, I had the honor and privilege to serve as the chairperson of the Communications Department, where I have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented, dedicated, and hard-working faculty on this or any other campus,” he said.

Mr. Ehrenfeld’s hard work did not go unnoticed. In May 2012, he received the Faculty Excellence Award from his peers. He considers winning the award his greatest accomplishment.

“I’ve been blessed with many good students through the years who have used their considerable talents to win more than 322 awards, including 194 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association and 128 from the Texas Community College Journalism Association,” he said. “I have also served as secretary, vice president, and president of the TCCJA. Two of my students also received the Vera Sue Spencer Award at graduation in a five-year span.”

Since his retirement in December 2021, Mr. Ehrenfeld enjoys watching college and professional sports (both in person and on television), reading, photography, grilling, and baking a few pies now and then. He still finds time to officiate collegiate and high school track meets, assist with running the girls’ and boys’ regional basketball tournaments for Class 1A and 2A at SPC and oversees UIL Journalism in the Academic Meet.

Mrs. Cathy Luck Ehrenfeld was raised in both Andrews and Midland. She attended Southwestern University in Georgetown and Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she focused on child psychology. 

On March 2, 1982, Mrs. Ehrenfeld began working at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, spending the majority of her 30-year career in the Department of Internal Medicine. During that time, she received the “Outstanding Achievement Award” and “Customer Service Award.”

Upon her retirement from TTUHSC, Mrs. Ehrenfeld worked with special needs students at Monterey High School and later the Talkington School for Young Women Leaders and Project Intercept. Having always had a heart for those with autism, Down syndrome and other learning disabilities, Mrs. Ehrenfeld also found joy working at High Point Village. She even coauthored the book, “Destined to Soar,” which was published in 2012 by Alexander Publishing in Lubbock.

The Ehrenfelds have been married for 35 years.

“My husband, Charles Lawrence Ehrenfeld, has been the recipient of numerous journalistic awards covering a wide range – everything from sports to medicine to human interest,” Mrs. Ehrenfeld said.

“There is not another individual who has exemplified the principles of honest journalistic practices and ethics. He has helped countless students obtain internships and job placements. Not only does he care about their education, but he also cares about the person.”

The couple said, “This scholarship is for the legacy of true journalism. We hope and pray the reality of journalism will enlighten and educate those who don’t think about how important it is.”

For more information on ways to support scholarships, contact Samantha Goldie, director of development and alumni relations, at (806) 716-2210 or email