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31st annual Gutenberg celebration set for homecoming weekend

The 31st annual Gutenberg celebration for the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Hunter Welcome Center on the campus of Abilene Christian University to honor outstanding alumni of the department.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Preston Watkins (’12), Sales Director at WebMD in New York City.
  • Julie Hays (’02),Midday with Julie’ anchor for KWTX in Waco.
  • Jordan Echols (’04), Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing Operations at HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee.

Each year, the department selects alumni who graduated a minimum of ten years ago and have produced a body of professional work that distinguishes the individuals among the alumni of the department and the university.


(L-R) Echols, Hays and Watkins

“In different ways, our three honorees exemplify what we want our students to aspire to be,” said Dr. Kenneth Pybus (’89), chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Julie has embedded herself into the Central Texas community and has become a mainstay of local journalism with a national impact. Preston has taken on dynamic and ever-changing industries, and he’s done it with vigor and creativity, excelling in the most challenging markets. Finally, Jordan has led a team positioning the nation’s largest healthcare company in the marketplace in the wake of a pandemic that upended the channels of strategic communication and placed the need for effective digital marketing front and center. This group demonstrates how crucial these skills are to tell important stories at a high level.”

Each student within the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication is invited to the event at no cost, thanks to donations from alumni and sponsors, allowing them access to network with prestigious alumni and learn more about future professions. Morris+Mitchell, the student-run advertising and public relations agency, is responsible for planning, promoting and executing the event.

“I enjoy when it all comes together,” said Karley Adrion (’16), assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. “As faculty advisor of Morris+Mitchell, I have an inside look at everything the students are doing to bring the event to fruition. Every year without fail, each honoree has shared some nugget of wisdom and/or an encouraging word that is applicable to alumni, faculty and students alike. I always leave the event feeling proud to be part of a department that has such outstanding alumni.”

Learn more about the event and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

— Connor Mullins

Sept. 26, 2023

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