Mitchell, Brantlys to be honored in February

Posted October 13, 2014

Abilene Christian University announced the winners of its two most prestigious annual alumni awards Saturday morning, recognizing an international leader in public relations and the medical missionary couple who have become the face in America of the fight against Ebola.

Named as the 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year is Elise (Smith ’83) Mitchell, founder and CEO of the Arkansas-based Mitchell Communications Group and CEO of the Tokyp-based Dentsu Public Relations Network. Mitchell’s PR firm has worked with many of the world’s largest companies, including Walmart and Tyson Foods.

Named the 2015 Young Alumni of the Year are Dr. Kent (’03) and Amber (Carroll ’06) Brantly. Kent Brantly is a physician for the medical missions nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse who attracted international attention by contracting – and ultimately surviving – Ebola while caring for patients in Liberia.

Craig Fisher (’92), director of alumni relations and annual projects, announced the awards during Homecoming.

“These alumni live out every day the Christ-centered servant-leadership ACU strives to instill in every student,” Fisher said. “Elise, Kent and Amber are not only credits to their alma mater, they are helping to transform the world for generations to come.”

The winners will be honored at ACU’s annual Alumni Day luncheon, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.

After more than a decade in public relations, Mitchell was living in Fayetteville, Ark., when she founded her own agency in 1995. As Northwest Arkansas grew around the dominating presence of Walmart, so did Mitchell Communications, which added Walmart as a client, followed by Tyson, Sam’s Club, and Proctor & Gamble.

She is the namesake of Morris and Mitchell, ACU’s student-run PR agency within the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Brantlys were thrust into the international spotlight when in July 2014 Kent was one of the first Americans diagnosed with Ebola after caring for many Liberians infected with the disease. While Amber cared for their children in the United States, Kent fought for his life, first in Liberia, where they lived, then in Atlanta, where he was flown to receive additional treatment.

The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award recognizes “lifetime achievement that brings honor to the university through personal and professional excellence and service to the university, church or community.” The Young Alumnus of the Year Award recognizes “professional achievement and/or distinguished service to Abilene Christian University.” To be eligible, a recipient must be no older than 40 at the time of selection.


For more information about these awards, visit the ACU Alumni Association awards page.


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