ACU Honors Communication Consultant for Excellence in Media

for immediate release Feb. 26, 1998

ABILENE - A former Abilene Christian University and Abilene Reporter-News employee will receive the "Excellence in Mass Media Ministry" award from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 3:30 p.m. in the Living Room of the Campus Center during ACU's 80th annual Bible Lectureship.

Walter E. Burch of Simi Valley, Calif., has worked in communications, business development, community relations and fund raising for more than 40 years. After working as a reporter and copy editor for the Abilene Reporter-News from 1952-56 and teaching journalism and serving as public relations and development director for 11 years at ACU, he established his own company in 1967.

"He taught us that excellent writing and graphic design really do make a difference," said Dr. Charlie Marler, chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, who worked under Burch as a journalism student in the '50s.

WEBCO initially provided counsel and seminar training to U.S. corporations in the field of race relations, developing affirmative action programs to promote equal opportunity while reducing community tensions. WEBCO's Spectrum '70 Management Workshop in New York City was hailed as a "corporate breakthrough in race relations" and drew representatives from 30 major companies.

In the wake of civil disturbances in Abilene in 1972, a foundation commissioned WEBCO to make a community assessment for the City of Abilene, which resulted in the creation of The Bridge, a community agency that coordinated vocational training for the unemployed and underemployed to meet local employers' needs.

In 1975, WEBCO moved to Texas and its focus shifted to assisting educational institutions, social agencies and other community-based projects, offering planning counsel, conducing feasibility studies and communications and development audits, and managing fund-raising campaigns. His company relocated to Southern California in 1986.

"To Abilene Christian and Charlie Marler and all others involved in this award, I am very grateful and honored. I have been blessed to have had a part in Abilene Christian," Burch said.

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The actual award consists of an authentic clay oil lamp from a period between the 12th and 8th centuries B.C. symbolic of the "light" Christians and journalists are called to be in the world.

If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Malissa Endsley, director of media relations, at or call 915-674-2692.

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Last update: February 26, 1998