Five Women and Local Businesses Honored in the WT Communications Department Hall of Fame | KAMR


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR / KCIT) – West Texas A&M University has announced that its communications department will honor alumni, recently retired faculty members and a local business in a virtual Hall of Fame ceremony.

The event will take place via Zoom on Friday, October 22 at 6 p.m. While the ceremony is free, donations for the Trudy L. Hanson Write Your Own Story scholarship are welcome, the department said.

WT said the success of the honored alumni represents the university’s principle of being focused on learning, which is described in WT 125: From the Handful to the World. WT explained that the plan is fueled by the One West global $ 125 million fundraising campaign.

You can register for the virtual ceremony here.

At the event, Dr Trudy Hanson will receive the Eternal Flame Award for non-alumni with a big impact on the communications department. Former Katie Kirkpatrick and Stefanie Rodarte-Suto will be recognized as 2021 Hall of Fame inductees, while former Dr Jennifer Harker and Hope Stokes will receive the 2021 Rising Star Award. In addition, Pak-A-Sak convenience stores will be recognized as community partner of the year.

Dr Hanson recently retired as Head of the Communications Department after 31 years at WT.

“When I think of the story of the Eternal Flame of our university, it reminds me of the people who did not let challenges destroy hopes and dreams, but instead turned the embers into a powerful light for education. Said Paula Schlegel, Associate Lecturer in Communication. “Dr. Trudy Hanson has been a hot ember who has successfully guided our department, the field of communication and especially the success of our students.

Kirkpatrick is a 2000 graduate of Waxahachie who is now Vice President of Digital Commerce, North America for Bacardi.

“Katie has had a meteoric career in digital commerce for some of America’s most iconic brands,” said Mary Coyne, owner of MCMC. “Katie is an energetic, enthusiastic and efficient powerhouse.”

Rodarte-Suto graduated in 2003 from Guymon, Oklahoma, who currently serves as the Deputy Director of Community Development for the City of Amarillo. In such a role, it creates opportunities to alleviate the impact of poverty in the region.

“Stefanie is definitely using what she learned at WT to excel in her professional life,” said Mellessa Denny, 2018 Communication Hall of Fame inductee. “She’s someone you can count on as a planner, communicator and spokesperson. “

Harker is originally from Amarillo and received her Masters degree from WT in 2015. She is now a Technical Writer and Writer at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, North Carolina. Its role is to translate the institute’s environmental research to the public.

“Dr. Jennifer Harker is definitely a rising star,” said Dr. Kristina Drumheller, head of the communications department. “She’s just a rock star in our field.”

Stokes is originally from Amarillo and graduated with honors in 2020. She is now Marketing Director for the Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“As a student, Hope was a dynamic executive director of 1910 PR and an ideal mentor to other students,” said Kimberly Bruce, associate lecturer in the Department of Communication. “Today, she is a fantastic young community leader who serves Amarillo and her visitors with her enthusiasm, creativity and organization.”

The family owned and operated Pak-A-Sak convenience stores were founded in 1978 and are headquartered in Amarillo. The company currently has more than 350 employees.

“Pak-A-Sak has been a staple of the Panhandle community for over 40 years, and during that time he has consistently given back to the community as a whole and to WTAMU, and more specifically to the Department of Communication,” said Dr. Mary Liz Brooks, Jenny Lind Porter Professor of Communication and Assistant Professor of Media Communication. “Pak-A-Sak projects a sense of pride, selflessness, generosity and loyalty which are character traits representative of what it means to be appointed as a community partner.”

WT said the annual Communication Hall of Fame event started in 2013, but was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 event will take place virtually to honor the winners.

In an effort to endow the Hanson Scholarship, WT has named the Grant Levels with titles that match Dr. Hanson’s passion for storytelling, along with the scholarship name:

  • Legend ($ 500);
  • Yield ($ 300);
  • Storyteller ($ 100).

If you would like to donate, you can do so here.

“During his career at WT, Dr Hanson has encouraged students to use their voices effectively when writing and to continue to write their own stories and forge their own path,” said Schlegel. “She had the unique ability to bring rhetorical theories to life. Dr. Hanson cared about the success of our students and she cared about our students. They knew it and didn’t want to disappoint her. They held themselves to a higher standard because she expected nothing less. She is truly a light to those who have had the chance to learn from and work with her.


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