Alumni

In the halls of the HFAC I developed an appreciation for how words are delivered to maximize clarity of purpose and understanding. It became clear to me that the mission of BYU really begins—and can only be accomplished—through excellence in communication.

Sharlene Wells Hawkes is a reporter and singer who became the 1985 Miss America while still a Communications student at Brigham Young University. Born in Asunción, Paraguay, Hawkes was the first and only foreign-born, bilingual woman to be crowned Miss America in the history of the pageant.

Being crowned Miss America was far from the highlight of her career. Armed with degrees from BYU and the University of Utah, Hawkes went on to be a sportscaster for ESPN, a public speaker, a recording artist, an author, a vice president of marketing and sales for StoryRock, a veterans’ advocate, and a mother of four. Using her wealth of experiences, she has written and published two books: Living In – But Not Of – The World and Kissing a Frog.

Hawkes took an interest in the armed forces as reflected by her current work as president of Remember My Service, a company that helps members of the military and others preserve memories through digital scrapbooking. A passionate communicator, she has used her influence to launch Project Gratitude—an initiative to show appreciation for the wives and daughters of fallen military personnel. Each year, about 20 of these women are flown to the Miss America Pageant where they’re given the VIP treatment.

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