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MCJ Hall of Fame Celebration Honors Alumni and Former Faculty, Raises Funds for Scholarships

FRESNO — The 2021 Media, Communications and Journalism (MCJ) Hall of Fame and Scholarship Celebration will honor individuals who are experts in their fields while raising scholarship funds for students following in their footsteps.

The hybrid event will be held in person at 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17, at Fresno State’s University Dining Hall.

Tickets are $50 and are limited to the first 50 registrants. For the first time, the celebration will also be streamed live through Zoom and later broadcast on CMAC.tv.

Tickets for the virtual event are $8.

This year’s class of prestigious alumni and friends to be honored as Hall of Fame recipients are:

Jan Yanehiro, an Emmy award winner and Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award winner, is the founding director of the School of Communications and Media Technologies at the Academy of Art University.

Former Media, Communications and Journalism professor and department chair John Zelezny served as Fresno State’s chief public relations Officer, authored six top-selling editions of a communications law textbook and was the senior vice president of communications for Community Medical Centers. Zelezny is currently a public relations consultant, lawyer and writer.

Don Priest is professor emeritus in the Media, Communications and Journalism Department, serving Fresno State for 30 years. He is a former general manager at KFSR, Fresno State’s public radio station.

“Being inducted into the MCJ Hall of Fame and recognized for my 30 years’ service to the department is absolutely the highest honor I could ever hope to achieve,” Priest said. “It’s like the culminating event that brings closure to my most meaningful adventure.”

The Media, Communications and Journalism fellows inductees are:

Tommy Rouse has two Emmy nominations for his set design work and currently owns his own event design company, Avenue Twelve.

Manny Fernandez is the deputy politics editor of the New York Times and Pulitzer Prize nominee for his feature story on homeless runaways in San Francisco.

Christine Paik is a former news anchor, most recently with ABC 30, where she received six Emmy awards. Paik is now the chief communications officer for Poway Unified School District and a newly published children’s book author.

“The Fresno State MCJ program has given me so much — it made me a better journalist, communicator, colleague, teacher and mentor, and instilled in me a lifelong desire to pay it forward,” Paik said. “I am so grateful for the education and experiences that I have carried with me into my career. To receive this honor is extremely humbling and exciting, and I am so pleased to be included among such accomplished individuals. I never thought, back in 2006 when I was getting my degree
while six months pregnant, that I would find myself here today.”

Honorees have distinguished themselves in their careers, contributed to the betterment of the industry or made volunteer efforts outside the workplace. MCJ Hall of Fame inductees are those who have completed or are near ending their primary careers, while fellows are in the prime of their careers.

“We are so inspired by the achievements of our MCJ Hall of Fame inductees and fellows, as they model the professionalism that our students aspire to in their own careers,” said Dr. Honora Chapman, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State. “We are also very grateful to our donors for the scholarships that allow our students to earn a degree and follow their own dreams of future success.”

In addition to the Hall of Fame and fellows inductions, 44 scholarships will be awarded.

“Our department is blessed with so many extremely successful alumni and friends, and these members of the MCJ family serve as inspiration for all of us,” said Betsy Hays, department chair and 2017 MCJ fellow. “It’s important to honor them for so many reasons, including providing our students with role models and ideas for aspirations.”

The event is organized by students in their capstone MCJ 149: Advertising and Public Relations Campaigns course who work as a public relations and advertising agency led by instructor Jan Edwards. Underwriting for this event is provided by the College of Arts and Humanities, the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism and the MCJ Alumni and Friends Chapter in conjunction with the Fresno State Alumni Association. Event proceeds go toward future scholarships to contribute to student success.

Masks, an online health screening and social distancing are required for in-person attendance.

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