Faculty and students both in library management and student media are mourning the loss of Misty Hawley, the communications manager for the library since 2013 and a former assistant director of student media.
Hawley, who graduated from UTD with her Masters in emerging media and communication in 2013, died at the age of 39 on April 30.
“She was really close to us, so it was really heartbreaking and definitely a shocker to hear she had passed,” said Trang Nguyen, a former station manager of RadioUTD and an accounting and marketing alumna.
In her role as assistant director from 2010 to 2013, Hawley oversaw the broadcast side of student media, or radio and television.
Nguyen said the radio staff had a close relationship with Hawley, who was instrumental in the hiring of Nguyen as both promotions manager and, later, station manager.
“(Hawley) worked really close with us and, from what I remember, she was very much like a tough love sort of character,” she said. “She had her expectations, but at the same time, I knew it came from … the goodness in her heart.”
She also said Hawley’s leadership style made the radio team the best version of itself. Her no-nonsense approach took radio to the next level of professionalism, Nguyen said.
Hawley was part of the team that started the student media suite in the first floor of the Student Union. Nguyen credits Hawley’s efforts in part for the new station RadioUTD currently uses for broadcasting.
Hawley helped get the radio staff to the College Music Journal conference every year, which is always held in New York City. Even though Nguyen said Hawley always talked about how much she hated the city, she can’t help but think of her whenever she travels there.
Nieves Reyes, the news director of UTDTV from fall 2012 to spring 2014, fondly remembers Hawley as a mother figure.
“She’d help us out with anything she had, and I think that’s what everyone loved about her,” she said. “She didn’t judge us, she’ll help us in any way she can. … I think that’s what brought everyone together.”
Reyes said Hawley’s leadership united the UTDTV staff into a true team. She also said Hawley helped bring the station closer to a professional news program by putting an emphasis on improving graphics and focusing on changing up camera shots.
“If it weren’t for her, I’d say none of this would have happened, how UTD is now,” she said.
When Hawley went to work for the library, Nguyen remembered her saying she left because it was a great opportunity for her. Even though she no long worked at student media, however, Reyes said broadcast staff still went to go visit her.
“We’d just talk about random things,” Reyes said. “My senior year, I was just stressing out so hard. … She’d tell me not to cry and that I have to be strong. And then just give me the best advice that she could give me. She was like a mother to me.”
A service is planned for 2 p.m. on May 7 at the First Baptist Church in Gladewater, Texas.