The distinguished careers of six commonwealth media professionals will be honored this spring at the 2014 Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. The April 10 event is the 27th Hall of Fame Ceremony to honor significant achievements in the fields of Virginia media.
The Virginia Communications Hall of Fame recognizes communication professionals with exceptional careers in advertising, journalism, public relations and other media fields. This newest class of inductees will bring the total number of this elite group to 151.
“The Hall of Fame is a signature event hosted by VCU,” said Dr. Hong Cheng, director of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. “We are proud to host this distinguished event and to honor the outstanding careers of those inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
These six media leaders will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 10 2014 at the John Marshall Ballrooms in Richmond. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University will host the ceremony. VCU President Michael Rao will also give remarks.
The inductees are:
- Bill Bevins, veteran Richmond radio morning show host and talk show co-host at WTVR-CBS 6“Virginia This Morning,” began his broadcast career working with radio stations WSVS, WHAP, WRNL and WRXL, among others. This past year he celebrated his 25th anniversary with the Virginia Lottery, having been the first draw host for the Virginia Lottery in 1988. Bevins was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Richmond Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the Richmond Broadcasters Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Over the years, Bevins has been honored for his service to the Richmond community. He was awarded the Seven Seals Award for his support of the Armed Services and the Hometown Hero Award from the American Red Cross for work following Hurricane Isabelle. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Richmond honored Bevins for his continued service and the Easter Seals Society for his service to people with disabilities. Bevins also has been named one of Richmond’s Best in Richmond Magazine’s Best & Worst Issue for more than 20 years in a row.
- Michael Hardy, now retired, served as a reporter for the Virginian-Pilot and the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 37 years. With one of the longest stints covering gubernatorial politics in Virginia journalism, Hardy reported on 27 sessions of the General Assembly while quarterbacking the Times-Dispatch’s team of reporters during the annual legislative gatherings. Winning numerous state and national reporting awards during his career, Hardy traveled to 30 countries covering 15 gubernatorial trade missions to Asia, Africa, Europe and Central America. He also served six years on WRIC-TV’s “This Week in Richmond” interviewing governors and other state and local officials.
- Lawrence McConnell, publisher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville and regional publisher of the Charlottesville Newspaper Group for BH Media, began his journalism career in 1971 as the editor-in-chief for Washington and Lee University’s student newspaper, The Ring-Tum Phi. Before joining The Daily Progress in 1995, McConnell served as the managing editor for eight years at The Tampa Tribune. From 2002- 2003, he was the president of the Virginia Press Association. He has been a board member since 1996 for the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and served as president from 2009- 2010. McConnell is a member of the Washington and Lee Journalism Advisory Board, a life member of the Thomas Jefferson Area United Way and a board member of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- Regina Mobley, a Norfolk native, has been the primary news anchor for ABC13 WVEC-TV for 22 years. She has developed a strong following in the Hampton Roads community with a reputation for aggressive coverage of crime and other high-profile stories. Other noteworthy career highlights include her March 2011 interview with President Barack Obama, the first ever of a sitting president by a local news reporter. Mobley also reported from the USS Tortuga and USS Iwo Jima, the first two Navy ships to enter New Orleans and provide disaster assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. While there, she interviewed General Russel Honore, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, to provide his perspectives and an overview of U.S. Armed Forces relief efforts. Called the “Dinner-Time Diva” by Hampton Roads magazine, Mobley is the recipient of two regional Emmy awards and won gold in the 2012 Hampton Roads Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Female TV News Anchor. She is a long-standing member of the board of managers for the First Tee of Hampton Roads and sits on the board of directors of the American Red Cross, Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region.
- Kelly O’Keefe, professor and former managing director of the VCU Brandcenter and chief creative strategic officer for PadillaCRT, has participated in many endeavors involving creativity, digital technology, innovation and the world of brands. O’Keefe is an entrepreneur known for pioneering work in digital marketing, brand strategy and creativity. He has been named Ad Person of the Year and Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year, and Adweek named his firm Southeast Agency of the Year. He has received over 100 creative awards, including CA, Print Magazine, Art Directors Annual, AIGA, One Show, Cleo and Ad Age’s Best. He has been a strategic brand adviser to clients like KitchenAid, ESPN, Walmart, UPS Freight, Sesame Street, Colombian Coffee Federation and The Home Depot. He was a founding board member of the Virginia Council of CEO’s and the ad:tech conference and is currently a board member of the Future of Advertising Project at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
- Don Richards is the group vice president for Raycom Media. Prior to this role, Richards oversaw the operations of NBC12 WWBT-TV from 1998 to 2011, serving as the station’s vice president and general manager. He is a career broadcaster who has not only distinguished himself in the broadcast industry, but also as a servant leader in the Richmond community and the commonwealth of Virginia. Before his WWBT career, Richards held leadership positions in Oklahoma City, Okla,; Denver, Colo.; and Tampa, Fla. His Richmond community service includes the chairmanship of the Hospital Hospitality House and membership on the Richmond Sports Backers Executive Board. Richards has advocated for broadcasters across Virginia, serving as president in 1996 and currently as a board member of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. He’s also a past member of the Fox Network Board of Governors and current member of the NBC Affiliate Board and advisory board member of the Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU. In 1999, Richards was honored with the C.T. Lucy Distinguished Service Award by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters for his leadership in the Commonwealth’s broadcast industry.
Tickets are $100 each and can be reserved online at https://www.support.vcu.edu/event/HallofFameTickets, or by calling Lauren Stewart at the Robertson School at (804)827-3761. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Hall of Fame scholarship fund at VCU. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Stewart, or online at https://www.support.vcu.edu/event/HallofFameSponsorship.