Communication department hosts 10th annual COMM Day

Alumni return for a day of networking, discussion and dancing with current communication majors


Samuel Damon

Alumni speak at the Strategic Comm panel on Comm Day.

On Friday, Feb. 3, alumni, faculty and current communication (COMM) students gathered for the communication department’s 10th annual Communication Day (COMM Day) celebration. COMM Day is a chance for current communication students to hear from Trinity alumni about what happens after college and the many forms communication takes in the professional world, from journalism to public relations (PR).

Althea Delwiche, head of the communication department, discussed COMM Day’s benefits. “Alumni at all stages come back and can communicate what worked for them, and things they wish they knew while at Trinity,” Delwiche said.

The jam-packed schedule began with a keynote luncheon, followed by panels on strategic communication and journalism and the law, and to end the night, a networking reception in the Richardson Communication Center’s Studio A. The reception gave current students the chance to network with alumni at different stages of their careers.

The keynote speaker was Denise Barkis Richter ‘83, retired professor, author of “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die, Second Edition” and owner of the blog San Antonio Tourist.
Richter’s speech, “Good things come to those who HUSTLE,” was full of personality to match Richter’s mushroom-print pants.

The keynote covered topics such as finding one’s passion, skill building, time management and becoming a lifelong learner. It additionally included an interactive portion where Richter taught the audience “The Hustle,” which had audience members on their feet and laughing by the end.

Richter touched on the difference between going to Trinity and coming back as a seasoned alumna. “It makes me so proud to be a Trinity graduate because the panelists today were phenomenal,” Richter said. “I really think that everyone here is going to be able to change the world for the better.”

The strategic communication panel, moderated by Rebecca Densley, assistant professor of communication, highlighted the importance of developing your skills and being aware of your values. The panel was interactive, and capstone students had their elevator pitches critiqued by the panelists.

Julia Weis ‘19, a senior account executive at the PR company Edleman, appreciates the path she has walked so far. “Every step I’ve taken was important to who I am today,” Weis said.

The Journalism and the Law panel, moderated by communication professor Josie Liu, cataloged the winding road that is the state of journalism, hard truths regarding the profession and how journalism is constantly evolving due to growing mistrust of the press.

Christopher Fanick ‘19, a law associate at Latham & Watkins, advised students against indifference. “Do more of the things you care about, and avoid apathy,” Fanick said.

Gloria Farris, a junior communication and Spanish major, emphasized the insight that COMM Day gives to current students. “I’ve come every single year. [It’s a] great place to make connections with alumni and focus my vision of what I want to do in the future down the path of communication,” Farris said.

COMM Day doesn’t just happen by magic; it takes a team of people to organize and help to make the event occur. The planning committee included communication professors Camille Reyes and Rebecca Densley and Martha DeLeon, the department of communication office manager. With support from an anonymous donor, COMM Day has been able to occur since 2013.

Sophia Alvear, a senior communication major, recognized the close-knit community the communication department creates with its students.

“I really like COMM department events,” Alvear said. “You’re talking to your professor as if you’re a future colleague and what they’re interested in and what you’re interested in, it’s less structured.”

“[COMM Day] was a huge success in terms of attendance at each of the events and the engagement between students and alumni,” Reyes said. “My hope is that we’ll keep changing it and not become stagnant, so it just gets bigger and better.”