Ann Akers continues journalism journey with ACP Pioneer honor

On Sept. 19, the Associated Collegiate Press announced its inaugural ACP Pioneer Awards. Pioneers are distinguished journalism educators and advocates who have provided exceptional leadership for collegiate media programs and made exceptional contributions to collegiate journalism and to the association in its service.

We’re excited to celebrate on our own Ann Akers.

If you have attended any scholastic journalism convention, asked for next-level YBK consulting, read any Portfolio, attended a Herff Jones workshop — this list goes on, you’ve seen power of Ann in action.

Through her almost 40-year journalism journey, Ann advised publications in both public and private high schools, directed and taught at high school journalism conventions and workshops, worked as a sales representative and now is “on the inside” of Herff Jones marketing and sales.

Here at Herff Jones, our gratitude and love for Ann Akers is immeasurable.

Thank you to the Associated Collegiate Press for selecting Ann as an honoree. We look forward to celebrating her at the Fall National College Media Convention on Friday, Oct. 28.

Ann’s passion for yearbook is clear

“Ann Akers is an all-timer. One of the true greats. She’s seen it all, done it all, lived it all — and she still, after all these years, GIVES her all. Every day. To ALL of us. She’s simply the best. She makes us all better, and puts us first, and bristles under the spotlight, but I say shine it brightly now, because Ann is a legend, and now an ACP Pioneer — an honor richly deserved.” Mike Simons, Adviser at Corning-Painted Post High School and 2021 H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year

“While the yearbook community is most aware of Ann’s commitment and passion for scholastic journalism, she has been a champion for collegiate journalism as well. At our college conventions, Ann is always going above and beyond what is expected of a sponsor — she connects with the collegiate yearbook editors and staffs in a highly meaningful way and is constantly teaching, mentoring and celebrating their success.” Gary Lundgren, National Scholastic Press Association

“Impacting not only scholastic journalism, but also collegiate yearbook journalism as well, Ann Akers is an excellent addition to the recent list of ACP Pioneer award honorees. Teaching at summer workshops, national journalism conventions or mentoring at individual consulting sessions, have meant that yearbook students at all levels have learned new concepts from Ann, and most importantly, learned the power of their own ideas and received the encouragement to make those ideas come to life in their publications. Congratulations to Ann Akers on this noteworthy recognition.” Ray Slye, Herff Jones consultant  

“Ann gives so much to so many to make yearbooks (scholastic and collegiate) the best they can be. And she is loved for it. From her time as a staff member on the Iowa State University book, to serving yearbook staffs as a representative, to providing education and positive experiences through her work at ACP and in her current position at HJ, Ann is a warrior for the collegiate yearbook community. She doesn’t give up. When other companies stopped supporting college yearbooks, at conventions, Ann made certain Herff was a solid, supportive voice for the value of a strong college publication.” Linda Puntney, former Herff Jones Yearbooks Special Consultant

“Mention Ann to anyone. First, you will see a huge smile as they think of her. Second, the word “yearbook” will be part of the conversation. Ann has done more for scholastic journalism, especially in yearbooks, than anyone I know. This field is not her career; it is her calling. And thousands of journalism students are the beneficiaries of her talent and generosity. Think of the high school students she inspired who went on to work on their college publications — where she continued to inspire and teach them, and you, too, will smile.” Kathy Daly, former Herff Jones Yearbooks Special Consultant

“I met Ann shortly after graduating from college, where I had been the editor of my college yearbook. Ann was the smartest person I had ever met, and I went to school with scientists and engineers. She crafted brilliant words without ever picking up a pencil, made mundane themes sparkle with small edits, and considered coverage before it was ever cool to do so. More than anything, she was always teaching and always encouraging the people around her. I wanted to be just like her, but there’s really no one like Ann. I am honored to have worked alongside her and called her a friend for more than 25 years.” Vicky Wolfe Bender, former Herff Jones Yearbooks Marketing Director

“Ann Akers’ name is synonymous with yearbook. Her impact is immeasurable, She is a one-woman archive of yearbook history and a selfless promoter of staffs and advisers across the country. We are so fortunate to have her in our yearbook world as a friend, a mentor, a cheerleader and an inspiration. Congratulations and thank you, Ann.” Lynn Strause, former Herff Jones Yearbooks Special Consultant

If you’d like to help us shout our appreciation for Ann to the rooftops, please email