MCJ Hall of Fame Celebration to take place on Nov. 17

Hall of Fame recipients Jan Yanehiro (left), John Zelezny (middle) and Don Priest (right). (Courtesy of Jan Yanehiro, John Zelezny and Don Priest)

The 2021 Media, Communications and Journalism (MCJ) Hall Of Fame and Scholarship Celebration will honor students receiving academic scholarships on Nov. 17.

“The most important thing we are wanting to highlight is the uniqueness of the MCJ department. We really want to reflect the best qualities of being an MCJ student,” said Hall of Fame CEO and MCJ student Allison Craun.  

After missing last year’s celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCJ department brings this event back to campus this year in a hybrid style to remind students of the opportunities available in the field and to honor the connections formed among members of the department.

“The MCJ department is always going to be there for students. All alumni who go through MCJ have positive relationships with their professors that go way past graduation. That’s our MCJ family,” Craun said.

The event will take place at the University Dining Hall. The Hall of Fame recipients are Jan Yanehiro, an Emmy award winner; John Zelezny, former MCJ professor and department chair; and Don Priest, former general manager at Fresno State’s public radio station.

Honorees have established themselves in their own careers, volunteered their efforts outside of the workplace and have contributed to the improvement of the industry as a whole.

“The different backgrounds these guests have, they all touch on something I am interested in. I get to meet so many people in one place at once, that’s so incredible,” Lucca Lorenzi, MCJ scholar, said.

Lorenzi, MCJ student with an emphasis in public relations, is one of 44 scholarship winners set to be honored at the event. He is the recipient of the James L. Melikian Scholarship and plans to attend the event in person. 

“It’s so exciting that I can lean on these people in my community who haven’t even met me that are confident in my future,” Lorenzi said. “It’s almost overwhelming and just makes me incredibly grateful.”

In addition to the Hall of Fame recipients, there are MCJ Fellows who are being inducted into the Hall of Fame. These guests are those who are in the prime of their careers.

The MCJ Fellow inductees for this year’s event are: Tommy Rouse, two-time Emmy nominee; Manny Fernandez, Pulitzer Prize nominee; and Christine Paik, chief communications officer for the Poway School District.

The event is organized by students in the MCJ advertising and public relations campaigns course, led by instructor Jan Edwards.

“We ran into a few challenges, but I think that is what’s great about this event — this is real, hands-on experience. We can say we hosted a successful hybrid, in-person and virtual Hall of Fame event, which in today’s world is really special given the circumstances,” Craun said.

Fifty in-person tickets are available at $50 each, but the event will also be streamed live via Zoom and later broadcast on CMAC.tv. Tickets for the virtual event are $8. All proceeds go toward future MCJ scholarships.

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