Published on September 17, 2014 by Jackie Long and Abby Colella  

Samford University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) will honor three distinguished alumni and one longtime staff member Nov. 1.

Alumni Jack Brymer, Carol Guthrie and Tony Hale, and staff member Debbie McGrady will be added to JMC’s Wall of Fame at 11:15 a.m. in Samford’s Bolding Studio as the department celebrates its 30th anniversary of equipping future journalists and mass communication professionals. The celebration will continue with a tailgate luncheon on the university’s Quad following the Wall of Fame ceremony.

Each Wall of Fame inductee was inducted for transformational service to the department or outstanding professional accomplishments.

Jack Brymer graduated from Samford in 1967 with a B.A. in journalism and religion. He earned his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama in 1970. Upon graduation from Samford, he became the first managing editor of The Alabama Baptist. He left The Alabama Baptist in 1983 to become the editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. In 1994, Brymer returned to Samford as the director of publications. He retired in 2003. He and his wife, Shirley Brymer, a 1975 Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing graduate, have three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Carol Guthrie  graduated from Samford in 1993 with a B.A. in journalism and English literature. After seven years as a television news producer in Birmingham, Baltimore, and Washington, she served as a media consultant on the 2000 Presidential campaign of Vice-President Albert Gore.  Guthrie joined the office of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in 2001, eventually becoming communications director. She then served in that capacity for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance from 2005-2009.  She was appointed as an official in the Administration of President Barack Obama in 2009, serving as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs. She was named senior advisor to the U.S. Trade Representative in 2013.  In March 2014, she became the Head of the Washington Center for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based international organization of which the United States is the largest member.

Tony Hale graduated from Samford in 1992 with a B.A. in journalism. He is also a 1994 graduate of the Regent University School of Communication and the Arts. He is best known for his work as Buster Bluth in Arrested Development and as Gary Walsh in the HBO comedy Veep, for which he won the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. He is married to Emmy Award-winning make-up artist Martel Thompson, and they have one daughter.

Debbie McGrady served as the JMC administrative assistant from 1994 until 2013. She previously worked for WVTM-NBC 13 in Birmingham for 18 years. Her hard work for Samford JMC and her solid relationships across campus helped create the department we know today. McGrady valued her role as a mentor and “second mom” to the JMC students, and the department remains deeply appreciative for her service. She is married to Bill McGrady and has one son.

“We are very excited to honor these outstanding Wall of Fame inductees,” said department chair Bernie Ankney. “It will be a great weekend for all."

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.