BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Department of Communications and Media Arts added four esteemed alumni to its Wall of Fame during a ceremony that capped the college’s 60th annual Communications Week.
Jennifer (Thomsen) Clark ’92, Grant McLaughlin ’91, April Starinsky ’02, and Casey Swaney ’93 are the latest inductees.
Clark, of Toms River, N.J., is network operation center program operations manager for Bravo. Upon her graduation from Bethany, she became program scheduling coordinator for USA Networks soon-to-be-launched Syfy Channel.
During her time at USA, she was promoted to manager of entertainment production and manager of scheduling and programming operations. When NBC Universal acquired USA, she shifted to the role of network operation center program operations manager for Sprout/Universal Kids, which she held until 2020.
“I’m truly honored and humbled to be recognized,” Clark said. “I’ve been lucky enough to work in the industry that I’ve always loved since graduation from Bethany, so I’m thrilled that I can be here today.”
McLaughlin is the executive vice president of client services at HudsonLake and is the founder and principal of the communications and engagement consultancy called Engaged Leadership. He spent more than 20 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm. Starting in 2015, he led the firm’s efforts to reimage its cooperate communications strategies and to build a digital-first communications system.
“It’s an honor to be on this wall with some people that I went to school with and friends whom I respect immensely,” McLaughlin said. “The things that I have done since I left Bethany are really focused on integrating the things I learned at Bethany. So my ability to be at a small school and do radio and do TV and do writing for The Tower and photography for The Bethanian were incredibly helpful to me. And I was able to apply all of them.”
McLaughlin on Thursday delivered the John Keresty Lecture, the keynote address of the Bethany Communications and Media Arts Week.
Starinsky is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer at WFTV Television in Orlando. She is a former main newscast producer for the station, which included coverage of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the 2016 election cycle, several hurricanes and the day-to-day odd news cycle in Florida. She previously worked at WPXI in Pittsburgh and WTOV9 in Steubenville.
“I just wanted to thank you for the honor,” Starinsky said. “I love Bethany – we all love Bethany. That’s why we’re here. Journalism matters. It’s been a very tough few years for journalists and journalism. Just coming from a place of love, [Bethany] taught us what we know and how to do our jobs and to give voice to the voiceless.”
Swaney is a marketing associate for an engineering firm in North Carolina. His 30-year career in communications also includes about 18 years as a reporter for the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times. Though Swaney could not attend the ceremony, Dr. David DeIuliis, assistant professor of communications, shared a letter of gratitude written by Swaney.
“The groundwork laid at Bethany in communications classes and extracurricular activities, particularly through writing, design and collaboration, made the transition to a new profession smooth,” Swaney wrote. “Flexibility and adaptability are vital in today’s workforce, and strong liberal arts education is the backbone of my skillset.”
Each year, the Department of Communications and Media Arts celebrates Communications Week with days named after prominent Bethany communications professors. This year, the department declared Friday is M.E. Yancosek Gamble Day in honor of the department’s chair from 2009-2019.
She established the Wall of Fame in 2010 to recognize distinguished communications graduates. It includes more than 40 acclaimed graduates, including Dave Sims, play-by-play commentator for the Seattle Mariners, and former “CBS Morning News” anchor Faith Daniels.
Gamble is the chair of the Department of Performing Arts and an associate professor in the School of Business and Aviation at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, W.Va.
Bethany College communications student leaders – senior fellow Victoria Magnotti and junior Drew VonScio – organized the events with Department Chair Pat Sutherland and members of the Bethany faculty.
ABOUT BETHANY COLLEGE
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.