Associate Vice President for University Communications
Mark D. Kahler leads the Office of University Communications, Creative Services, Mailing Services and Production Services. Those areas provide professional assistance in advertising/marketing, news and media relations, videography, photography, web development, graphic design, postal services and printing. Mark came to Union in 2004 following 20 years in television news as an on-air reporter. In his spare time, he continues to work as a freelance journalist. His wife Cindy (’06) and his son Scott (’13) are Union University graduates and his daughter Diane hopes to join the class of 2018.
B.A., Samford University
M.S.J., Northwestern University
Debra Rhodes serves as Office Coordinator for University Communications. This position works as the front door for the advertising, marketing, video production and photography arms of the university. She came to Union in May 2012 after working several years as a producer for a large advertising agency in Nashville. Her accomplishments include numerous national awards and nominations in both the broadcast arena and the recording industry. In fall 2013 she added teaching to her resume and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Music at Union. She enjoys travel, poetry and spending time with her family.
B.M., University of Alabama
M.M., University of South Carolina
Assistant Vice President for University Communications and Director of Media Relations
Tim Ellsworth (’96) oversees the university’s news writing efforts and is Union’s chief liaison with external media. A Union graduate, he returned to the university in 2004 after working in a variety of journalism and educational positions, including stints at the Illinois Baptist and the Southern Illinoisan. He is a regular contributor to Baptist Press and the author of two books: God in the Whirlwind: Stories of Grace from the Tornado at Union University and Pujols: More Than the Game. He and his wife Sarah have three children and are active at Cornerstone Community Church in Jackson.
B.A., Union University
M.S., Southern Illinois University
Beth Knoll ('13) graduated from Union with a degree in journalism. She began her position at Union after interning at several publications, including The Jackson Sun and Baptist Press. She also previously served as editor-in-chief of the University student newspaper, Cardinal & Cream.
Mary Watson came to Union in 2007 and is responsible for marketing strategies, ad buys, promotion content and marketing research. She also works with Union’s social media platforms. She earned her degree in journalism and wrote news and sports before transitioning to marketing and advertising. She was responsible for media relations, advertising and print media at a Baptist hospital and did special events promotions for health-related nonprofits. She later became the publications editor for a private university in Indiana and freelanced as a writer and editor. Mary is married to Vince Watson. Their three children are all Union graduates.
Scott Heit is responsible for supervising the creative and design services for the University community. He provides art direction, concept development, design and production of print and digital campaigns. Scott is also an adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication Arts. Before joining Union in 2009, he was a Senior Art Director for an advertising and PR firm. There he worked with a diverse group of national and global clients in industries from packaging and boating to retail and non-profits. He is married to his camp crush, Kelly, and is a proud father of four active kids.
Sarah Belcher ('04) has served as Graphic Design Specialist in the OUC since 2007. In addition to working on various print and digital design projects, Sarah is primarily responsible for University signage and advertisement design. As a student she worked in the OUC by contributing to multiple volumes of LWF: Year in Review. Sarah is an active member of Cornerstone Community Church. She is a fan of hot tea, running, live music, international travel and spending time with the kids at RIFA's after-school program, Club 412.
Cam Tracy ('93) has maintained the university website since 1995 and has been a member of the OUC since 1999. He has taught in the Digital Media Studies program since its inception in 2000, and he is also is co-director of the Union Student Film Festival. He serves as the historian/webmaster for the Baptist Communicators Association and is a member of the International Digital Media & Arts Association. Cam attends Calvary Baptist Church where he sings baritone in the choir and serves as a deacon.
B.S., Union University
M.S., Florida State University
Kristi McMurry Woody ('10) is a graduate of the Digital Media Studies program at Union University and currently works as Web Design Specialist. As a student, Kristi worked as photo editor in the OUC, and she has continued to use her photography background in her current position. Kristi works with various departments and centers on campus to improve their websites through organized content, social media interaction and updated photography. Kristi also volunteers for Special Needs Athletics in Jackson and runs the blog Hello, Jackson, which promotes local small businesses in the community.
Scott Lancaster ('94) has served as the multimedia producer for the OUC since 2007. He is responsible for producing video and audio content that promote the university. After graduation from Union, Scott returned home to Memphis where he spent six years in television news, owned a video production business and served as Media Specialist for Hypertech, Inc. For his work at Union, Scott has won multiple Addy Awards, a silver medal from Higher Ed. Marketing and a 1st place award from Baptist Communicators Association. Scott and his wife Frances have 2 children and are active members of Northbrook Church.