November 21, 2018

Southwestern Adventist University Professors Receive Emmy Award

Three professors in the department of communication at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) won an Emmy award — considered the highest honor in the United States television industry — at a televised awards ceremony in Houston, Texas, on November 10, 2018.

Professors Kyle Portbury, Michael Agee, and Glen Robinson each received an Emmy for their work on “Truth” in the category of Historical/Cultural — Program Feature/Segment. In addition, writer/director Kyle Portbury received an Emmy nomination for outstanding achievement in directing. The Emmy Awards ceremony was conducted by the Lone Star Regional Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Produced by SWAU’s Institute of Christian Film, “Truth” tells the story of women’s rights activist and abolitionist Sojourner Truth and the speech she delivered at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851. “Truth” is a graphic novel-style animation featuring the voices of a number of current communication students and staff members, along with professional actors. It is the first episode in the Institute of Christian Film’s series, True Heroes, with episode two, “Resistance,” currently in production.

The Emmy award is the most recent and most widely recognized of the many awards that the three professors have received during their professional careers.

Glen Robinson is known primarily as an author, with more than 200 articles and stories as well as 22 books published. His awards over the years include two Angel awards for writing and editing, two honorable mentions from the Society of Adventist Communicators for writing and web design, and an official selection by New Apple book awards in 2018. Robinson was also an American Fiction Awards finalist in 2018.

“It’s a joy to work on the Institute of Christian Film projects and an honor to collaborate with the two talented professors I share my department with,” Robinson said.

Michael Agee, department chair and general manager of the university’s TV station, KGSW, has a long history as a successful radio station manager. He is a three-time Dove Award winner for Station of the Year from the Gospel Music Association, received a Station of the Year award from Radio and Records, was a finalist for a Marconi Award, and received a Crystal Community Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters.

“I’m very excited for what this [Emmy] means for our department,” Agee said. “I’m proud of the recognition for my colleagues and the hard work they’ve done.”

In his wide-ranging film career, Kyle Portbury has won many awards, including best documentary at the Mountain Film Festival in California for his film, “The Mountain Within,” and 15 international awards, including the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle for his television series, "Beyond the Search.” He also won a nomination for best direction in online drama at the 2017 Australian Directors Guild Awards for the six-part mini-series version of “Tell the World.”

“We are humbled to receive an Emmy award for 'Truth,'" Portbury said. “Sojourner’s courage to speak up against injustice 167 years ago still resonates today. It’s sacrifices by people like Sojourner Truth that encourage us today to keep trying to do what is right, regardless of the consequences.”

The original version of this story appears on the North American Division news page.