SJMC Centennial: Chicago Speaker Bios

Join Drake alumni and prospective students for networking and conversations in downtown Chicago and get an insider's view of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.

Discussion Panel - Full Bios

Clark Bell

Clark BellClark Bell, JO'73, is the President of the Bellwether Group, a communications consulting firm based in Chicago. In the past three years, he has taught upper level journalism classes at DePaul University and Florida Gulf Coast University. Previously he taught at Northwestern University.

Clark retired in 2016 as the McCormick Foundation's Journalism Program director. Clark, who joined the foundation in October 2005, oversaw journalism grant-making initiatives and shaped the program's focus on critical issues facing the news media. He managed more than $65 million in journalism projects during his tenure at McCormick.

Clark is a veteran reporter, editor, publisher and communications consultant. Prior to joining the McCormick Foundation, he was managing director for American Healthcare Solutions, where he developed communications strategies for hospitals and technology firms.

His extensive journalistic background includes serving as editor and associate publisher of Crain Communications’ Modern Healthcare magazine, executive business editor of the Dallas Times Herald and business columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Earlier, he served as a consumer affairs editor and financial reporter for the Chicago Daily News and sports writer for the Des Moines Register.

Clark earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Drake University and a master's degree in urban studies from Loyola University of Chicago. He was among the first group of journalists awarded a Sloan Fellowship to study economics at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Bell serves on the board of the American Society of News Editors Foundation (recently renamed News Leaders Association) and was a two-term public member on the Accrediting Council on Education and Journalism and Mass Communications. He was on the board of the Chicago Journalists Association and served as chair of the advisory council of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness.


Glen Dacy

Glen DacyOver his 35-year producing career, Glen Dacy, FA'84, has covered world events for CBS, NBC, ABC, and currently, CNN. He has reported stories in every state and from datelines around the globe. Dacy specializes in coordinating coverage of large scale stories such as the siege at Waco; the Haiti earthquake; unrest in Ferguson, Missouri; California wildfires; the 2006 Lebanon war; Las Vegas massacre; and over a dozen hurricanes. His investigative work has generated prison reform in Illinois. Glen also has extensive experience on the campaign trail. He has covered almost every election cycle since 1984. This year he is part of the CNN Special Events team producing Town Halls and debates in the run-up to the 2020 election. Among his many awards Dacy counts six Emmys, an Edward R. Murrow, a Cable Ace, and an Alfred I. DuPont.

Dacy is a graduate of Drake University and began his career at KCCI-TV (Des Moines) and KWWL-TV (Waterloo, IA.)


Jennifer Konfrst

Jennifer KonfrstJennifer Konfrst, JO'96, BN'98, is an associate professor in Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She created and currently leads Drake’s Strategic Political Communication program, and she teaches public relations and graduate courses. Prior to joining the journalism faculty in 2013, she worked in public relations for 20 years, most recently at Iowa Public Television. She served as the statewide network’s spokesperson, and worked extensively as an on-air host. She has also worked on political campaigns, and is currently serving her first term in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Jennifer is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, and hold Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Drake. Konfrst is active in her community, and volunteers for Roosevelt High School PTA and Roosevelt Forensics.She lives in Windsor Heights with her husband of 23 years, Lee Konfrst, and her two children: Ellie, 19, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame; and James, 17, a senior at Roosevelt High School.


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