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Alumni Newsletter - May 2022

School of Communication Alumni Newsletter

School of Communication
Another school year is complete! Thank you to everyone who made it possible. We will see everyone in the fall.





The end of a school year always brings a mix of emotions as we celebrate the many accomplishments over the past year, but say goodbye to the students as they move into new beginnings or return in the fall.


On May 13, the School of Communication welcomed 198 Hokies into the alumni family. This number included 191 undergraduates with 52 from our communication major, 38 in multimedia journalism, 81 in public relations, and 20 in sports media and analytics. Seven graduate students graduated this spring. They all successfully defended their theses or completed their project reports to earn an M.A. in Communication.


The 2022 College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences commencement ceremony featured one of our own as the commencement speaker! Liz Hart, a 2007 communication graduate, spurred the students on with her speech. You can learn more about Liz’s journey en route to becoming the deputy White House social secretary.


Our fall admissions’ decisions are right on pace with what we expected. In all, 154 students are projected to join the School of Communication family in the fall after a record-breaking 1,010 applications this cycle. There continues to be such exciting growth surrounding the school!


We were thrilled for the return of "Comm Week" in April after putting it on hold for the past two years due to COVID-19. Comm Week is a weeklong professional development program for our students. Over the course of the week, we recorded 400+ attendees across eight events. The highlight of the week was “Commpass,” our networking event with communication professionals and alumni. Twenty-three professionals attended and connected with nearly 100 of our students to help develop the next wave of talented practitioners from the School of Communication.


Giving Day 2022 was a smashing success! The 164 donors and $12,622 raised were both new records for the School of Communication. Thank you for your many contributions.


Our graduating students aren’t the only ones saying goodbye. My time at Virginia Tech has officially ended with retirement. Douglas Cannon is now serving as the interim director until July 1 at which point our new director will assume the position.


The last 34 years in Blacksburg and 21 leading the Department/School of Communication have been humbling and rewarding, to say the least. I appreciate your kindness and support every step of the journey. I’ve always said I’m a Demon Deacon and Boilermaker by pedigree, but I’ve become a Hokie by choice. Thank you, again, and all the best in all of your endeavors ahead.


Robert E. Denton, Jr.
Director, School of Communication

Robert E. Denton Jr

Robert E. Denton Jr., director of the School of Communication, to retire


Denton spent 34 years at Virginia Tech, with 32 of those in a leadership position. "Bob Denton has represented excellence in every sector of academic life — scholarship, teaching, community service, and dedication to his institution and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Larry Sabato.
Read More >

Emily Maher

Class of 2022: Emily Maher makes her mark with dual master’s degrees in communication and public health

After graduation, Maher intends to work in health communication with an emphasis on destigmatizing health issues.
Read More >




Lauren Kornman

New advertising major aims to attract students with agency ambitions

The advertising major in the School of Communication fills a critical gap that was missing in the university’s curriculum. Launched in the fall of 2021, the major integrates communication courses with classes in marketing and graphic design.
Read More >



SMA Students in Brooklyn

Sports media and analytics students take over Brooklyn for ACC Tournament

The ACC Tournament in Brooklyn was not just a shining moment for Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball team. A dozen sports media and analytics students in the School of Communication provided coverage all week from the Barclays Center.   

Read More >

Jonathan Williamson

School of Communication alumnus thrives in producer role with HBO, NBC Sports

Jonathan Williamson, a 2003 alumnus who double majored in communication and history, is the producer behind a number of television shows and podcasts, including most recently HBO’s Band of Brothers Podcast.
Read More >




Commpass Event

The Commpass networking event during Comm Week featured 23 communication professionals, including 10 alumni (Derley Aguilar, class of 1995, center), coming to campus to connect with our students.


Grad Students 2022

Our 2022 graduating class of master's students. They all did a great job defending their theses and completing their project reports.

Kyle Marchak and Nick Broyden Sports Media and Analytics freshmen Kyle Marchak and Nick Broyden discuss the Final Four picks from the Intro to Sports Media class taught by Bill Roth.

In the News

Liz Hart Liz Hart (Communication, 2007) on the job at the White House. Photo courtesy of Nate Emory.

Alumni and Faculty Highlights


  • Liz Hart (Communication, 2007) delivered the commencement speech at Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences commencement ceremony.
  • Advanced instructor Len Clark led a presentation titled “Create with Mobile for Environment Reporting” at Ohio University for the Kiplinger Fellowship.
  • Senior instructor Brandi Quesenberry and advanced instructor Zack Sowder presented a workshop titled “Listening for Life: Training and Using Listening Skills in the Center” alongside Comm Lab coaches Shannon Kelly, Emma Guido, and Lauren Engle at the National Association of Communication Centers conference.
  • Advanced instructor Hannah Shinault was awarded the 2021 Shooting Star Award by the Blue Ridge Chapter of PRSA.
  • Carrie Cousins (Communication Studies, 2001) was named the 2022 Advertising Person of the Year by Western Virginia Advertising at the American Advertising Awards Gala in Roanoke.
  • Amanda Bird-Johnson (Communication, 2014) was chosen as an honoree for Richmond’s Finest, Class of 2022.
  • Professor Jim Kuypers published Personal and Administrative Perspectives from the Communication Discipline during COVID-19.

Donate to the Denton Endowment

You can give over the phone by contacting Virginia Tech Gift Accounting at 800-533-1144 or quickly make a gift online.



Submit content for the School of Communication newsletter or social media by emailing Cory Van Dyke, communication & marketing specialist, at