Senior Send-off 2022: Jacob Walton

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There are a million things I could say about my four years at the University of Indianapolis. This school has changed my life, changed me personally and changed my outlook on the world. Throughout my four years, I’ve developed skills that will help me for the next 60 years of my life until I, hopefully, retire. In all those experiences, all those skills and new perspectives, there has always been one constant: The Reflector.

I still have vivid memories of being in Professor and Advisor to The Reflector Jeanne Criswell’s office for my official tour of the communication department, and by the time I had left I had met the entire staff, seen the entire department and absolutely loved every second of it. I knew it was home. Since that day, I’ve spent thousands of hours working on this paper and I do not regret a single moment.

When I became sports editor my sophomore year,  it was one of the best moments of my life, not just because I was happy to get the position, but because I felt that I had direction and I was moving forward. My actions, even as stupid as some of them were, led me to a role I had desired since I stepped on campus. I have always loved sports, even as I moved away from that role and became Editor-in-Chief (EIC) in May of 2021, that love and passion for sports held true. Through that lens of sports, I found myself fascinated with the storytelling aspect of journalism. For those that were at my senior project, they will certainly know how important the aspect of storytelling is to me. In my two years of being sports editor and eventually EIC, the stories I was able to tell were my favorite moments. Some of the best stories included sitting down with Mickey and Shira Sasson to talk about their military past, talking to Dana Yousseff and asking her how she was able to get a 4.0 every semester while being one of the best UIndy women’s soccer players ever, finding out what made perhaps the greatest UIndy Athlete in Pilar Echeverria so great. Outside of the profiles of athletes—from talking poetry with Tyree Daye and examining his small town background, to Kenny Broberg and his talent with a piano—I’ve loved telling these stories to the UIndy community.

Aside  from my work with The Reflector, the Department of Communication has been a home away from home. I’ve already mentioned how important Jeanne Criswell has been to me, but all the professors have impacted me in one way or another. They have all impacted me in one way or another whether it be lessons of compassion, leadership or anything else. Professors are not the only ones that I have to credit. Justus O’Neil has been one of my best friends, not only within The Reflector but overall in the communication department. I joked that we were war buddies, but no matter what challenges the journalism work threw at us, I knew he was there to back me up and I was there for him the same. I could continue to mention a million other people, but the majority of you know who you are. All I can say is thank you for putting up with my hyper, somewhat annoying and passionate self over the past four years.

Leaving The Reflector is something that I always knew was going to happen, it was inevitable. Even with COVID-19 throwing a couple semesters online, it has all gone by in a blur and at a snail’s pace at the same time, and I would not change it for the world. Even though I’m not fully leaving the Department of Communication as I’m sticking around for my masters—thank you, UIndy Athletics, for that—I view these four years as something I will remember forever. My biggest piece of advice for those that come after me: cherish the good and the bad, because eventually they will all be memories. As Jeanne always says: Keep working hard, you die-hard journalists!

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