Outstanding Alumni: Careers Bring Honors
by Stephanie Derkowski, photo by Sara Stelling
On a beautiful fall morning in Lubbock, before the Red Raider kick-off against Kansas, alumni, faculty, staff, students and supporters of the College of Media & Communication gathered to honor the outstanding alumni of 2012.
As everyone grabbed their second cup of coffee and filled their plates with a delectable assortment of breakfast foods, emcee Jim Douglass began the presentation.
He thanked everyone for participating and introduced Texas Tech University Interim President Lawrence Schovanec.
The Texas Tech administrator shared his appreciation for the college, and he said he was impressed by how well its alumni support one another and honor each other for their achievements.
A slideshow complemented by humorous stories told each honoree’s story, beginning from their childhoods to where they are today.
Family and friends of the recognized alumni were interviewed by Dean Jerry Hudson, Ph.D., who wrote the copy for each slideshow to highlight the accomplishments of the six honored and their unique personalities.
Marilyn L. Peppers-Citizen was recognized first, still laughing at her lighthearted slideshow introduction as she received her medallion from Hudson.
“Truly an honor to be recognized,” said Peppers-Citizen during her acceptance speech, “and to be recognized with the other alumni today.”
Peppers-Citizen is working in Washington, D.C., as the project manager for Quasars Inc. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism.
Some of her subsequent accomplishments include guiding a 375-person team in supporting more than $19 billion in C-130 air transport assets. She also helped to coordinate the evacuation of the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Gregg T. Holmes was introduced with stories about his college days of fake I.D.s and panty raids.
“This is an outstanding university and one that we should all be proud of,” Holmes said.
Holmes is working in Phoenix, Ariz., as vice president of operations for the Valley of the Sun YMCA. He has a record of advancing profitability and customer service.
Joe Hornaday was recognized next for not only being the “pink paddle ping-pong king” as a child, according to his slideshow introduction, but for his 30 years of publicizing, promoting and marketing Texas Tech Athletics.
During his acceptance speech, Hornaday shared stories of his work experiences, from being drafted into the Army and serving in Germany to working for Texas Tech Athletics.
Retiring from Texas Tech in 2008, Hornaday currently serves on the Southwest Region Selection Committee for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Hornaday’s many accomplishments include the overseeing of creating the Spike Dykes Open, a blue-collar golf tournament drawing in more than 500 supporters. The golf tournament, now called the Red Raider Open, is the largest golf tournament at one golf course in the state of Texas.
Emily Jones McCoy was presented next, with a slideshow revealing her rap to “Ice, Ice Baby” at her wedding.
McCoy shared during her acceptance speech that she is proud to have grown up in West Texas. She said she has learned some of the most valuable lessons in her life and has met some of the most influential people at this university.
“Thank you for all of your hard work past, present and future,” said McCoy during her speech, “and thank you for making all of us so proud and for making this a great place to go to college.”
McCoy began her first job at KCBD-TV in Lubbock, and she is currently working with FOX Sports Southwest as the in-game reporter for the Texas Rangers’ home telecasts and hosts the Big 12 Showcase.
Randall King Nelson was honored next, and he shared his love for Texas Tech and sports.
“I am very thankful, this means a lot to me,” said Nelson during his acceptance speech, “and everyday proud to be an alumnus from Tech.”
Since 2007, Nelson has been working as president, CEO and director at Uptake Medical Corp., an early-stage medical device company working to resolve the challenges of emphysema disease.
Nelson has a wide variety of leadership experience and remains a family man with his wife and three children.
Brandon Snow was the final alumnus to be honored at the ceremony. His slideshow introduction revealed he had broken a bone in every sport he ever played; therefore, Snow decided he could use his love for sports in a different way.
Snow began his career as a graduated advertising major at Tracey Locke Advertising in Dallas. Today, Snow is the vice president of Global Marketing Partnerships with the National Basketball Association.
During his acceptance speech, Snow said he was not quite sure how he fit with the outstanding alumni he was honored with. He thanked each of the other five alumni honored and his parents and wife.
After the recognition of the recipients adjourned, the room full of College of Media & Communication attendees grabbed one last doughnut, mingled and networked, and continued on to the Texas Tech football game day’s festivities. mc
Stephanie Derkowski is a senior public relations major from Longview, Texas.
Sara Stelling is a sophomore journalism major from Houston.