Honoring a Legacy: Three Alumnae Unite to Establish Sally McGill-Eagan Scholarship

Mass Communications alumnae, Lori Allen (left), Jan Jones, and Stephanie Davis (right) pose on a recent girls trip to Georgia

In the heart of Colorado State University Pueblo’s former Mass Communications program, now Media and Entertainment, lies a legacy of inspiration, mentorship, and dedication embodied by the late Professor Sally McGill-Eagan. Three remarkable alumnae, Stephanie Davis (A81), Lori Allen (A81), and Jan Jones (A82), came together to honor her memory and impact through the establishment of the Sally McGill-Eagan Scholarship nine years ago. Their individual journeys since graduation and shared experiences as students reveal a tapestry of achievements woven by Professor McGill-Eagan’s guidance and wisdom.

Stephanie Davis attended the University of Southern Colorado (USC) as a “non-traditional” student, returning at age 29 after leaving then Southern Colorado State College. A former employer offered to pay for a class, and that class was Sally’s newswriting class, igniting Davis’s passion for the industry and leading her to become a full-time Mass Communications student the following semester. Post-graduation, Davis worked as a news editor for the American Quarter Horse Journal in Amarillo, Texas, and later held positions at the First National Bank of Amarillo, a Cancer Center, and an advertising agency in California before working in internal communications for a national insurance agency and later retiring.

Lori Allen, hailing from northeastern Indiana, chose USC due to her love for Colorado horses and cowboys. Growing up with a father who came to own an equestrian center in Pueblo West, horses were a significant part of her life. Allen, the proud owner of Midnight Bisou, the highest earning North American Mare of all time, recalled her high school days as the editor of the newspaper, fostering her desire to become a writer.

“I was the editor at my high school newspaper and knew I had always wanted to be a writer,” said Allen. “Taking every class of Sally’s, I thought I was the world’s best writer. I would crank out the assignment in fifteen minutes, and Sally would then spend 45 minutes editing it. This was a humbling experience learning I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, but she did it kindly which taught me how to write.”

Under Sally’s tutelage, Allen honed her skills and credits her first career at the American Quarter Horse Journal to Sally’s guidance. Afterward, she worked in public relations at an electric company, contributed to marketing and public relations at a hospital, and focused on raising her family.

Jan Jones started college on her 30th birthday, aspiring to become a writer. Despite initially feeling like she didn’t fit in as a non-traditional student in the journalism program, she was quickly accepted by her peers. Tragedy struck during her second semester when her son suffered severe burns, but Sally’s support and the faculty’s flexibility helped her persevere.

“Sally was afraid I would drop out, but she made sure the faculty worked with me, provided flexibility on tests, and that’s what caused me to stay in school. I owe a lot to her,” said Jones.

Jones later worked for the state fair, transitioned to a sales career at the Pueblo Chieftain, served as a Donor Recruitment Specialist at Bonfils Blood Center, and eventually founded her own PR firm, Gentry, Jones & Associates.

Though their backgrounds differed, Davis, Allen, and Jones shared a deep admiration for Sally, which flourished during their internships at the Colorado State Fair’s Public Relations Office. They oversaw media communications across various platforms, recalling fond memories of their experiences, including drafting releases and witnessing the impact of their work.

The establishment of the Sally McGill-Eagan Scholarship is a poignant tribute to a beloved professor whose influence spans generations. Through this scholarship, Davis, Allen, and Jones aim to empower future Media and Entertainment students to pursue their academic and professional aspirations with the same passion, integrity, and commitment that defined Professor McGill-Eagan’s legacy.

When asked for advice to pass on to current students, Allen emphasized the importance of writing passionately and honestly, stating, “Learn to write, and learn to write well. Write with a passion that tells a story, do it honestly, and develop good, honest, relationships with your peers.”

Reflecting on their time in the Mass Communications program, Davis, Allen, and Jones cherish the memories of their formative years and the enduring impact of Professor McGill-Eagan’s mentorship. Their collective journey, marked by resilience, achievement, and a shared commitment to excellence, stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and the enduring legacy of a remarkable educator.

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AnnaMarie Neal, A16
Annamarie Neal, a passionate advocate for social justice and an esteemed Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is making a profound impact in Colorado.

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