National Press Club

Bill McCarren honored by Owls for significant contributions to NPC

November 30, 2017

National Press Club Executive Director Bill McCarren receives Order of the Owl Award from member Frank Aukofer.

National Press Club Executive Director Bill McCarren receives Order of the Owl Award from member Frank Aukofer.

Photo/Image: Marshall H. Cohen

The National Press Club Silver Owls -- those with 25 or more years of continuous membership -- on Thursday evening conferred the Order of the Owl on Club Executive Director Bill McCarren for his many contributions to the Club. The award honors “birds of a unique species, weathered and wise, who have nested at the National Press Club and demonstrated that they give a hoot about Washington Journalism.”

McCarren has nested at the Club since he joined it in 1986 as an active member. He served in a variety of roles, including chairman of the Newsmakers and Speakers committees, each for three years.

When he started in 2007 as an employee, the Club was deep in debt and had not made a profit in years. McCarren engineered a turnaround with no layoffs or wage cuts and emerged from the recession with no debt and several million dollars in reserve.

He also worked with the Club's Journalism Institute and members to sell the Club's famed Norman Rockwell painting for nearly $11 million, securing the Club’s future.

Frank Aukofer, the Owls’ Head Hoot, said the Council of Wisest Owls decided unanimously that it was high time the Order of the Owl went to McCarren.

Few people in the history of the Club have had a greater impact on the fortunes of the world’s premier journalism organization,” Aukofer said.

The Order of the Owl has been conferred upon such luminaries as Mark Russell, Art Buchwald, Andy Rooney, Austin Kiplinger, Silver Owls Founder Bernie Goodrich, Helen Thomas, Tom Toles, Petula Dvorak, Dan Balz, Charles Overby, Brian Lamb, Robert Merry, Mary Lou Forbes, and the Club’s own John Cosgrove, Donald Larrabee and Arthur Wiese.