- The Media School Distinguished Alumni Award (2013)
- Honorary Degree (1977)
- Doctor of Laws
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: John William Ryan
- Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1959)
Evan Mark Ferree is among an unusually talented group of young men who came out of Indiana in the early part of this century and went on to win fame in the national and international world of journalism. The group includes: Kent Cooper, who built the modern Associated Press; Roy Howard, who started the United Press; Ernie Pyle, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist; John W. Hill, founder of the largest public relations firm in the world; and Nelson Poynter, owner of the award-winning St. Petersburg Times and founder of Congressional Quarterly.
In Ferree's case, interest in journalism began early during his grade school days in Grant County, where he carried papers for the Marion Chronicle. He later wrote sports stories for the Marion paper when he was in high school. Then he attended Indiana University where he served as a reporter and copy editor for the Indiana Daily Student.
After leaving I.U., Mr. Ferree became a reporter with the Evansville Courier and later was appointed Sunday editor of the Miami Herald. Then in 1932 he took a job as an advertising salesman on the Washington Daily News and began a 38-year career with Scripps-Howard Newspapers. In 1936 he became advertising manager of the Indianapolis Times and a year later its business manager. He held that post until 1945 when he was called to New York as assistant business manager of Scripps-Howard.
Thus Mr. Ferree rose through the ranks to become the top man on the business side of the organization as general business manager and executive vice-president of the concern, which is one of the largest and most influential communication organizations in the world. He also assumed leadership roles in the various subsidiaries of Scripps-Howard, including board member of United Press International, a trustee of the Scripps-Howard Foundation, and a director of the E. W. Scripps Co., the parent company of Scripps-Howard Newspapers. National recognition of his leadership in the world of newspapering came in 1960 when he was elected president of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, for which he had earlier served as a board member, treasurer, and vice-president. One of the most popular ANPA presidents in history, he was elected to a second term as head of the organization.
He retains his strong ties with the state of Indiana. Among many other distinctions, he was named "Hoosier of the Year" by the Sons of Indiana in New York City and awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by Indiana University for proving himself a distinguished "journalist, editor, and administrator in the complex world of newspaper publishing." His wife, the former Ruth Welborn, is from Evansville, where they met when he was on the Courier staff. He also is a director of the Richmond Palladium-Item.
The Handbook of Scripps-Howard described Mr. Ferree as "an editor's business manager ... he understands what the editor is trying to do, and he considers it part of the job of a business manager to help bring that about." This tribute was seconded over the years by hundreds of persons on the editorial side who worked with him. On his retirement, colleagues throughout Scripps-Howard spoke of his business acumen, his thoughtfulness of others, his pleasant joviality in trying times, and his overall consideration for those with whom he worked.