This story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader (Gannett) on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “I attended Evangel before they had all the gear they have now in their media department,” said Steven Yake, a Nashville-based film producer/director.
“The teachers challenged us to be creative and to think about how to be effective in our productions with what we had,” he continued. “It wasn’t about the equipment, but about our minds, and that is something that has stuck with me to this day.”
Yake is a 1980 graduate who has produced television and film projects with music superstars such as Brad Paisley and Michael W. Smith, and has crafted the public image of global corporations such as Citgo Petroleum and Time/Warner.
He was one of three graduates of the Evangel University Communication Department that were inducted onto the Wall of Fame during this fall’s Homecoming celebration, recognizing their distinguished careers in the communication profession.
“Steve has applied his heart and mind to his work, and he now has shelves full of honors, including nine Dove Awards, GMA’s Impact Award, ADDY Awards, ACMA Awards and 20 RIAA-certified platinum and gold videos,” said Dr. Cameron Pace, a college-era friend of Yake and the current Communication Department chair.
“He is a man with a great heart and is a worthy member of our ‘Wall of Fame.’”
Impacting the future
Another 2016 honoree is Dr. Tamara Tarpley Welter, a 1991 journalism graduate who currently serves at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., as the chair of the Media, Journalism & Public Relations Department.
“Way before its time, the program at Evangel gave me room to be ‘convergent,’ which later became one of the buzzwords for programs of journalism and media,” said Welter. “I worked for the newspaper, the radio station and produced packages for television. That is a minimum part of the training required of journalists today.”
Welter was an innovative leader in her position as managing editor of Evangel’s campus newspaper. During her junior year, she moved The Lance from typesetting and paste-up production to digital production, training the staff in the emerging desktop publishing technology.
“As a professor now, I have such a greater understanding of Shirley Shedd’s role as advisor to The Lance during those years,” she said. “Mrs. Shedd was my advisor, but really a mentor. Her encouragement empowered me, and others, to be influencers in this world.”
Welter was a pioneer in online education. Her research has taken her from Iceland to Mexico, Indonesia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As a professor at Biola, she continues to lead trips to many of those same places for student service opportunities.
Reaching the needy
The third inductee is Springfieldian Matt Wilkie, who has made a career of leading service trips to third world countries.
“I work with teams from churches and universities in places around the world through Convoy of Hope,” said Wilkie, field team director for Convoy. “I’m grateful for the foundation of good communication, both through media and interpersonally, that was laid during my years at Evangel.”
“Matt loves helping team members effectively engage in other cultures, to impact hurting people physically and spiritually,” said long-time friend Dr. Chip Stanek, associate professor of digital arts and film at Evangel. “Since 2002, Matt has lead short-term mission teams with engagement in more than 65 countries.”
To be eligible for Evangel’s Wall of Fame, the alumni must be 40 years or older, have a successful career in the communication field, and continue to be a person of faith, according to Dr. Pace. Each awardee was nominated by other alumni and voted on by Communication Department faculty.
“So many incredible communicators have passed through the EU halls,” said Wilkie. “Some of my personal heroes are on the wall already. It’ll be fun to see who is added in the future.”
SIDEBAR: Members of the Wall of Fame
2014 — Evangel launched the Communication Department’s Wall of Fame in 2014 with five inductees, all with Springfield ties:
- “Aunt Norma” Champion, pioneer broadcaster and former State Senator;
- Shirley Shedd, retired chair of the department;
- Steve Grant, KY3 News anchor;
- Kay Logsdon, vice president of The Food Channel/Noble Communication; and
- Brandon Beck, KY3 News meteorologist.
2015 — Members of the second honored group were (READ FULL STORY):
- Dave Davis, Hillcrest High School media teacher;
- Krista Sederwall Casey, a managing producer for CBN; and
- Dr. Norm Mintle, dean of the school of Communication and Creative Arts at Liberty University.