Debbie (Reynolds) Harper (’88): TV personality, writer and Christian media company founder
October 26, 2009
Although she had a four-year journalism scholarship to another university, at the last minute Debbie Harper had a change of heart and decided to attend Evangel. She couldn’t deny that her heart was tugging within her to go to Evangel.
“As I look back, I realize that God put His Holy Spirit within me to lead and guide me for what He knew I would need,” says Debbie.
She graduated from Evangel in 1988, completing her degree in Communication, with a double major in Broadcasting and Journalism.
Her favorite memory from Evangel was attending chapel every morning, although many times, it was difficult to arrive promptly. During the chapel services, she enjoyed the sense of community and common purpose that it provided.
“It was like we were a big family with a mission. We each had a unique calling to carry out, but all for a common goal,” Debbie says.
While a student at Evangel, she had the opportunity to write for the student newspaper, The Lance. She also had a program on the radio station and did segments for the television news.
Debbie says that her experience at Evangel was the first time her faith became her own.
“I was raised in a supportive Christian home, but when I attended Evangel, away from home, I had the opportunity to combine my faith with my calling and professional aspiration,” Debbie says. “I had mentors who helped me do that. I found that I didn’t have to forsake my faith to embrace my career.”
After attending Evangel, she went on to pursue her master’s degree in journalism from Regent University. She feels that her time at Evangel prepared a spiritual foundation upon which she has been able to build her post-graduate and professional career.
“I was provided a heritage, great social network, sound theological teaching, Christian world-view perspective, and marketable professional skills with which to make an impact in the world,” Debbie says.
Debbie now has years of professional television and journalism experience as a former TV personality for WVEC TV-13 news, a TV host for America’s Shopping Channel, an on-air reporter and news anchor for CBN World news tonight.
Her feature stories are seen on ABC Family Network ’s program The 700 Club, the Trinity Broadcasting Network and on CBN.com.
As a writer, she has written for Springfield! Magazine, served as a columnist for the Navy News, and was managing editor for the Assemblies of God Southern Missouri District Messenger. In addition, she has worked as a model for John Casablanca and Charm Associates, appearing in numerous advertisements and making personality appearances.
Debbie also authored Poise and Personality: Etiquette, Manners and Social Graces, a life-impacting book for girls that focuses on building Christian character and confidence.
Currently, she is the founder of StoneyBrook Media, LLC, a company dedicated to providing quality, professional Christian media. She is also creator and managing editor of www.myfriendDebbie.com, an online magazine that provides encouragement, inspiration and information to women everywhere. The monthly publication has reached a national and international viewership since its launch. Debbie and her team are now preparing for their first series of women’s conferences, “Friend Festival, 2010.”
“I am shaped by my faith and involve my Christian beliefs in all that I do. I am provided the opportunity in my career to be salt and light in the world to those who would otherwise have no Christian voice around them,” she says. “My professional journalism skills provide necessary credibility — and that credibility is the avenue I have to seeing substantial influence and impact in our society.”
While attending Evangel, Debbie was blessed to meet her husband, Billy, in her Sociology 101 class. “He jokes that he turned around to see me enter the room and never looked back,” Debbie says. They share many great memories of their time at Evangel, from studying and washing clothes together, to eating in The Joust.
Along with her husband, Debbie is a motivational speaker, and they share a heart for building strong, Christ-centered relationships within families and marriages. They have been married for 20 years and reside in Virginia with their seven children: Garrett, Gavin, Grant, Gillian, Grayson, Graham and Galen. Their oldest son, Garrett, is currently a junior at Evangel.
“I love being a part of the Evangel community. Everywhere I go I meet or know someone who attended Evangel. It’s a huge part of how I identify myself, and now I am so pleased to have our son attend Evangel as a junior prelaw student,” she says. “When he first announced to us, after his senior year of high school, that he wanted to go to Evangel, we were thrilled!”
The Harpers have been involved in Glad Tidings Church in Norfolk for the past 18 years, where they have raised their family; served as elders, teachers and life group leaders; and have been a part of many exciting ministry opportunities. “I have come to understand that my God-given calling is to be a ‘communicator’ of the Gospel of Jesus,” Debbie says. “I have worked in the news business, and now I work in the ‘good-news’ business — I love being a communicator of hope and encouragement!