Evangeline W. Robinson
By Stuart Johnson
Evangeline W. Robinson is using the journalism skills she gained in graduate school at Ole Miss to help another Mississippi university, Jackson State.
Robinson, who grew up in the small Mississippi Delta town of Rolling Fork, graduated from Jackson State in 1991 where she majored in mass communications with a concentration in news editorial. While at JSU, she was involved in the student publication “The Blue and White Flash,” serving as editor-in-chief her senior year.
Eager to learn more, Robinson enrolled in the journalism graduate program at Ole Miss where she studied magazine service journalism with Dr. Samir Husni.
“He [Husni] inspired me through the program,” Robinson says. “I learned so much about magazines I never knew.”
While in graduate school, Robinson spent one summer interning in New York City at a trade publication and another with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at Ole Miss.
After finishing graduate school in 1993, Robinson worked as a technical writer in Pearl, Miss., before taking a fund-raising position in Memphis, Tenn., with Wonders: The Memphis International Cultural Series. Then she worked in Kansas City, Mo., for four years as the Development Coordinator for the Metropolitan Community Colleges Foundation-Alumni Association. In that position, she coordinated a first-time book festival with more than 100 authors.
Robinson says that the writing skills she learned at both institutions have continued to be an asset, even outside of the field of journalism. “At Wonders I created a newsletter to let our donors see how their gifts were benefiting school children, and at MCC I created a newsletter when I revived the alumni association,” Robinson says. “Being able to write well is a transferable skill.”
In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles to become the Associate Director of Development for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. Being in Los Angeles gave her the opportunity to work with an organization whose work she had long admired and allowed her to continue the study of screenwriting that she had begun at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. At Make-A-Wish, Robinson solicited donations of money, cruises, musical instruments, and other items to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
But in 2003, Robinson saw a posting on the Jackson State University web site that made her think that it might be the right time to return home. The university was looking for a Director of Alumni Affairs and Robinson knew that her education and experience had prepared her for the position. She was offered the job and returned to Jackson State to work with the university’s alumni. Later, she was promoted to her current position as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. She provides leadership for the offices of Development, and Alumni and Constituency Relations, and she serves as the Executive Director of the Jackson State University Development Foundation.
Robinson’s varied work experience demonstrates the many possibilities available to journalism graduates. Robinson says that students should also take full advantage at any opportunity available.
“No matter if it’s paid or not, students should work to gain that valuable experience,” Robinson says. “Take advantage of all opportunities and seek them out.”
Robinson feels that the new school can take current and future students as far as they want to go.
“This is an exciting time for Ole Miss journalism,” Robinson says. “I am excited for the school and the opportunities to come.”