Schieffer College Welcomes Three New Board of Visitors Members

The Bob Schieffer College of Communication welcomes to its Board of Visitors alumni Omar Villafranca ’00, John Walls ’05 and Tracy Reneé Williams ’04 (’08 M.S.).

Omar Villafranca ’00
Photo Cr.: Michele Crowe/CBS
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A Schieffer College’s Journalism major, Omar Villafranca ’00 is a correspondent for CBS News in Dallas, Texas. After working for several local television news stations, he joined CBS News in 2014. Villafranca has covered civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, tracked the destructive path of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Michael, and traveled to El Salvador to trace the root causes of migrants seeking to enter the United States. Villafranca contributed to CBS News’ multiplatform, multi-broadcast coverage of the shooting of five police officers in Dallas. He won a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association for his extensive coverage of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery on CBS News platforms and on “48 Hours.”

John Walls ’05

A Schieffer College’s Strategic Communication Department graduate, John Walls ’05, is principal of his firm JWPR, LLC, providing expertise in communication strategy, brand management, crisis communication, and thought leadership strategy. Before starting his firm, Walls worked for companies such as Hilton and Neiman Marcus Group, focusing on luxury and lifestyle branding. Walls sits on the board of directors for Dallas Hope Charities and works with the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. He received the “2023 People of the Year” award from PRNEWS, one of 58 industry leaders nationwide acknowledged as innovators.

Tracy Reneé Williams ’04 (’08 M.S.).

With Schieffer College’s Communication Studies bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Tracy Reneé Williams ’04 (’08 M.S.) is founder and owner of TraComm Development Group. A sought-after facilitator, coach and keynote speaker, she designed and launched a membership-based peer community for more than 300 Black professionals seeking executive business and cultural leadership roles at Valence Enterprises. She was a TEDx Deep Ellum speaker, where she debuted her talk “Inked for (emp)ACT: The Journey to 7 Seconds.” Williams recently finished four years as TCU’s National Alumni Board president. In March, she returned to Communication Studies as the 2023 Gorvetzian Family Speaker Series lecturer.

Three longtime Schieffer Board of Visitors members have been named emeritus members. They are Valerie K Blackburn ’79, former Schieffer board chair and owner of VKB Media Consulting; Nick Karanges ’81, (’83 M.S.), senior vice president of real estate services at Innovative Developers, Inc.; and Troy Moncrief ’94, president at the Baker Firm—Fidelity National Title.

Learn more about our additions to our Board of Visitors this spring, Katherine Beattie ’08 and Bonnie Creel ’71 (’74 M.S.).