By Amanda Castro-Crist
Four West Texas A&M University alumni were inducted into the WT Communication Hall of Fame Sept. 20.
Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, vice president of academic affairs at Amarillo College, was one of four inaugural members to receive the honor. The inductees were chosen by a committee of WTAMU faculty and alumni, including local KAMR-TV news anchor Jackie Kingston, after they received nominations from the community.
“It was really impressive and we were very, very proud to be part of that group and to know those people are still in our community and throughout the world and doing good things and that they’re Buffaloes,” Kingston said.
Others inducted during a banquet at the university were Matt Adams, executive vice president of customer solutions at Insala in Dallas; Andy Justus, a news anchor at KAMR-TV; and Guy Yates, a WTAMU professor emeritus of speech communication.
The banquet included a speech from each of the inductees and keynote speaker Claire Shipman, ABC senior national correspondent for Good Morning America.
Kingston said the committee hopes the banquet will become an annual event. Narrowing the nominees down to the four inductees was difficult, but they are looking forward to the next banquet, she said.
“We decided that, you know what? We have a great place to start next year,” Kingston said.
Lowery-Hart spoke fondly of his students at AC, many of whom were at the banquet.
“My Amarillo College students have captured my heart with their intensity,” he said. “They’ve spurred my commitment with their bold ambition.”
Before moving to AC, Lowery-Hart served as associate provost for academic affairs and as director of forensics at WTAMU. He also has served as vice president of the Amarillo Montessori Academy board and president of Panhandle Twenty/20. Like Justus and Adams, Lowery-Hart attributed much of his success to his experience at WTAMU.
“I want to thank my faculty colleagues from the department of communication and my colleagues across the campus of West Texas A&M University, which is a place that shaped me personally and professionally,” Lowery-Hart said.
He also spoke highly of the other inductees.
“I couldn’t stand here tonight without acknowledging my compadres for the evening,” he said. “The fact that Andy Justus gets to broadcast every night is a message to our students across the Panhandle about what‘s possible.”
Lowery-Hart also thanked Yates and Adams for opening his eyes to a world he didn’t know existed and his heart to other people.
“Their friendship, their humor, their commitment, their challenges changed the very direction of my life,” he said.
Above all, Lowery-Hart said, he owed the most to his family for their support, encouragement, inspiration and love that helped him get to this stage in his life. As he closed, he shared something he tells his children every day as they head off to school:
“Remember who you are and who you belong to.”