MCJ’s 2019 Hall of Fame funds future students, recognizes honorees and inductees

Hall of Fame

By Linda Moua, Fresno State MCJ student


The Media, Communication and Journalism (MCJ) Hall of Fame attendees were greeted with light jazz music as they mingled with their colleagues–old and new. Red and blue balloons were strung and the 2019 Hall of Fame logo hung on the podium. Students networked with some of the biggest names in the local media industry, and guests from all over the U.S. flew in to surprise their loved ones who were honored at the event. 

Light hors d’oeuvres, dessert and drinks were available for attendees as they reconnected with each other and made their way to the raffle and silent auction stations that displayed prizes like a cruise, Grizzlies swag, and a firetruck ride-along. 

College of Arts and Humanities interim Dean Honora Chapman with  MCJ faculty Aaron Schuelke and Wes Wise.
College of Arts and Humanities interim Dean Honora Chapman with MCJ faculty Aaron Schuelke and Wes Wise.

More than 150 alumni, scholarship recipients, students, faculty, parents and ten honored MCJ alumni and friends attended the 2019 Hall of Fame Induction and Scholarship Reception. Students of the MCJ 159S “Cases and Campaigns” course produced the event for their experiential capstone class taught by Professor Jan Edwards. 

MCJ 2019 Fellow Kelley Sanchez, Director of Communication at Saint Agnes Medical Center commented, “I didn’t know what to expect, but it definitely exceeded anything I could have imagined. I have nothing but praise for all of you!”

The sense of community and family is strong; alumni and friends came together for one night to honor exceptional alumni and outstanding students. The hosts of the event connected the diverse groups with music and trivia involving historical facts from bygone eras. 

Honorees have distinguished themselves in their careers, contributed to the betterment of the industry or have made volunteer efforts outside the workplace. 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.

This year, the MCJ Department honored eight fellows: Amy Wilson, Eric McCormick, George Takata Smith, Juan Esparza Loera, Jose Elgorriaga, Julie Logan Lindahl, Guy Haberman and Kelley Sanchez. 

2019 Fellow Amy Wilson (1994), director of communications at Community Medical Centers.
2019 Fellow Amy Wilson (1994), director of communications at Community Medical Centers.
2019 Fellow Eric McCormick (1994), president of McCormick Marketing.
2019 Fellow Eric McCormick (1994), president of McCormick Marketing.
2019 Fellow George Takata
2019 Fellow George Takata (1997), director of marketing and communications at Reedley College.
Ronald Orozco present a 2019 Fellows award to Juan Esparza Loera (1978), editor of Vida en el Valle.
Ronald Orozco present a 2019 Fellows award to Juan Esparza Loera (1978), editor of Vida en el Valle.
2019 Fellow Jose Elgorriaga, Jr. (friend), regional vice president and director of sales for Univision Communications in Northern California.
2019 Fellow Jose Elgorriaga, Jr. (friend), regional vice president and director of sales for Univision Communications in Northern California.
Professor Faith Sidlow (left) and Joe Castelan with 2019 Fellow Julie Lindahl Logan (1985), general manager of KFSR Radio.
Professor Faith Sidlow (left) and Joe Castelan with 2019 Fellow Julie Lindahl Logan (1985), general manager of KFSR Radio.
2019 Fellow Guy Haberman
2019 Fellow Guy Haberman (right) (2007), play-by-play and studio host for Pac 12 Networks and NBC Sports Bay Area and California, host of “Pac 12 This Morning” on SiriusXM Pac 12 Radio.
2019 Fellow Kelley Annette Sanchez (1993), director of communications at Saint Agnes Medical Center.
2019 Fellow Kelley Annette Sanchez (1993), director of communications at Saint Agnes Medical Center.

The two inductees were James “Jim” R. Wilson and George Gruner. 

Wilson is a professor emeritus at Fresno State, former vice president and general manager of KMJ Radio. He was one of the people who helped merge the Telecommunication Department with the Journalism Department to form the new Department of Mass Communication and Journalism (now known as Media, Communications and Journalism). 

2019 Hall of Fame inductee James R. Wilson
2019 Hall of Fame inductee James R. Wilson (1961), professor emeritus at Fresno State, former vice president and general manager of KMJ Radio, and one of the people who helped merge the Telecommunication Department with the Journalism Department to form the new Department of Mass Communication and Journalism (now known as Media, Communications and Journalism).

During acknowledgments, Wilson thanked mentors, friends, and family, especially his father. His father had been in the newspaper business by the time Wilson entered college and didn’t approve of his major in radio and television broadcast. His father called radio and television a “passing phantom phase.” They argued back and forth until they reached an agreement for Wilson to do at least a journalism minor.  

“It was probably the best decision I made,” Wilson recalled as his background in writing, radio, and television prepared him well for a variety of newsroom jobs and eventually a full-time teaching position at Fresno State.

2019 Hall of Fame inductee George Gruner
2019 Hall of Fame inductee George Gruner (friend), one of the “Bee Four” journalists who was jailed in 1976 after refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, and former executive editor of The Fresno Bee. His journalism career spanned 46 years.

Gruner, a long-time friend of the MCJ department, was the former executive editor of The Fresno Bee and one of the “Bee Four” journalists who was jailed in 1976 after refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source. His journalism career spanned 46 years. 

“Facts on state, national, and local issues come from a myriad of sources, but local news is still a reporter’s stock and trade and efforts in the public interest are the best examples of how YOU are meeting today’s challenge in our own backyards,” said Gruner.

Recipients of the ABC30 Scholarship Tanya Acosta, Kevin Hernandez, and Brittney Steele with ABC30 President and General Manager Dan Adams.
Recipients of the ABC30 Scholarship Tanya Acosta, Kevin Hernandez, and Brittney Steele with ABC30 President and General Manager Dan Adams.
Fresno Bee Executive Editor Joe Kieta presents the Fresno Bee Scholarship to Tanya Acosta.
Fresno Bee Executive Editor Joe Kieta presents the Fresno Bee Scholarship to Tanya Acosta.
James Wilson (right) with recipients of the James R. Wilson Broadcast Scholarship Brittney Steele (left) and Kevin Hernandez (second from right) along with Professor Faith Sidlow (second from left).
James Wilson (right) with recipients of the James R. Wilson Broadcast Scholarship Brittney Steele (left) and Kevin Hernandez (second from right) along with Professor Faith Sidlow (second from left).

Approximately $8,000 was raised for future MCJ Scholarships through ticket sales, raffle tickets and donations–a stunning new record.

MCJ 2014 Fellow, Michelle Von Tersch, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Community Medical Centers said, “The Hall of Fame and Scholarship reception just keeps getting better and better.  Congrats on a wonderful event!”

MCJ Hall of Fame event

Thank you to the following companies for their generous donations: Alpha Graphics, Carnival Cruises, Ryan Cook Fishing, Clovis Fire Department, Fresno Grizzlies, Mai Sweet Adventures, Pardini’s Catering, Valley Wide Beverage, Moravia Wines, FTB Print & Mail, and San Francisco Floral.

A tremendous thank you to the sponsors that made this event possible: The College of Arts & Humanities, the MCJ Alumni and Friends Chapter, and the MCJ department. 


Jer Xiong, Fresno State MFA Creative Writing student, contributed to this story.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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