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Past & Present Leaders

headshot of Felicia BlosFelicia Blow, Ph.D., APR
PRSA Chair, 2022

As PRSA chair in this special milestone year, Dr. Felicia Blow has championed the celebration of PRSA as an organization, and the importance of the larger profession. 

Dr. Blow has been instrumental in designing the programs and initiatives to mark the occasion, and has contributed countless hours of her time and talents in supplying leadership to the 75th Anniversary Task Force as the initiatives have taken shape.

During her many years in PRSA, Felicia Blow has been a constant volunteer and has contributed greatly to the organization, particularly with her work in the DE&I space in recent years. When asked to describe her vision for marking the 75th anniversary, here is what Dr. Blow shared with John Elsasser, editor in chief of Strategies & Tactics. 

Dr. Felicia Blow, APR, on PRSA’s 75th Anniversary

To read the full article, see the January issue of Strategies & Tactics.

“The 75th anniversary observance will acknowledge PRSA’s history and will focus on how the past has informed the present and how it will shape the future. Through it we will honor and recognize the contributions of the organization, the profession and past, current and future generations of practitioners. 

We will highlight the importance of ensuring the profession is diverse, equitable and inclusive, and its celebration will demonstrate the need for active embrace of industry-changing innovations.

We will feature top moments in PR history, PRSA milestones, and honor the notable and sometimes “hidden” figures in public relations.”




Past Leaders


Virgil L. Rankin, PRSA President of 1948

Virgil L. Rankin *

Served as first president of PRSA ; director, Division of Public Relations, Boston University School of Public Relations and Communications.

The SAGE Handbook of Public Relations, edited by Robert L. Heath


Averell Broughton, PRSA President of 1949

Averell Broughton *

Authored “Careers in Public Relations: The New Profession,” published in 1943.

The New York Times


J. Handly Wright, PRSA President of 1950

J. Handly Wright, APR, Fellow PRSA * 

Inaugural class of College of Fellows; worked for Monsanto Chemical Company; assistant director of public relations for The National Association of Manufacturers; executive vice president of Associated Industries; executive vice president for public relations for the Association of American Railroads.

Gold Anvil (1979)



Milton Fairman, PRSA President of 1951

Milton Fairman, APR *

Editor of Public Relations Journal (1954–55, 1968–71); president of Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education (1961–1965); served as Vice President of Public Relations for Borden, Inc; member of first Board of Public Relations Seminar and PRSA.

The Practice of Public Relations


Ed Lipscomb, PRSA President of 1952

Ed Lipscomb, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Inaugural class of College of Fellows; director of public relations for National Cotton Council of America; inaugural board member of the Public Relations Foundation; helped establish profession of agricultural public relations.

Gold Anvil (1957)
2017 Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame

Biographical Data of Ed Lipscomb
2017 Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame


William G. Werner, PRSA President of 1953

William G. Werner * 

Founded the public relations department at Procter & Gamble; Promoted public relations as counsel to corporations, not just publicity; Emphasized visual materials to support communication in public relations.

A PR Time Capsule Can Take You Back to the Future


Frederick Bowes, Jr., PRSA President of 1954

Frederick Bowes, Jr. *

In Frederick Bowes, Jr.'s 42-year career with Pitney Bowes, named first vice president to direct the company’s international division.

Public Relations Journal 1951–08: Vol 7 Iss 8



George Crowson

George M. Crowson *

Gold Anvil Award (1960)




W. Howard Chase, PRSA President of 1956

W. Howard Chase, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Howard Chase was a member of the inaugural class of College of Fellows and was recognized as No. 9 in the top 10 most influential PR professionals of all time, according to a University of Michigan study in 1970. He worked with Partners for Growth, Inc, in New York City where he played a major role in the development of issues management.

The Outstanding PR Professionals (PDF)
Howard Chase: The Man Who Invented Issues Management




Dan J. Forrestal, PRSA President of 1957

Dan J. Forrestal, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Dan J. Forrestal was a member of the inaugural College of Fellows and a corporate public relations executive with Monsanto Company. He won a Gold Anvil Award in 1974.

An Old Timer Surveys The Public Relations Scene


Kenneth W. Haagensen, PRSA President of 1958

Kenneth W. Haagensen, APR



Carroll R. West, PRSA President of 1959

Carroll R. West, APR *

Gold Anvil Award (1960)


Kenneth Youel, PRSA President of 1960

Kenneth Youel, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Kenneth Youel was a member of the inaugural class of College Fellows. He worked in public relations for General Motors and opened a firm — Youel, Philips & Associates — in Washington, D.C. He is part of PRSA’s National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame.

Detroit Free Press clipping from 1972


H.B. Miller, PRSA President of 1961

H.B. Miller, APR *


Walter W. Belson, PRSA President of 1962

Walter W. Belson, APR *

Walter Belson was most known for his work as Director of Public Relations for the American Trucking Association where he also served as its charter secretary. Before that he was Managing Director of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association.

The New York Times Obituary


Ward B. Stevenson, PRSA President of 1963

Ward B. Stevenson, APR *

Gold Anvil Award (1968)


Thomas F. Robertson, PRSA President of 1964

Thomas F. Robertson, APR *


Ovid R. Davis, PRSA President of 1965

Ovid R. Davis, APR *

As PRSA’s president, Ovid R. Davis invited six schools PRSA’s National Conference as guests of PRSA, which was the first step to creating PRSSA.

PRSSA: A Brief History (PDF)


Robert B. Wolcott, Jr., PRSA President of 1966

Robert B. Wolcott, Jr., APR, Fellow PRSA *

As PRSA’s 1966 president, Robert B. Wolcott founded the Counselors Academy and the Public Service Council of PRSA. He was a founding member, vice president and director of the National Investor Relations Association. He also formed the Consultants Group of the International Public Relations Association.

PRSA Mourns The Loss of Robert B. Wolcott Jr.


J. Carroll Bateman, PRSA President of 1967

J. Carroll Bateman, APR *

The Assembly under J. Carroll Bateman’s presidency voted unanimously to establish PRSSA. He authored the initial report on “Accreditation of Public Relations Education” with Frank Kalupa. PRSSA’s Bateman Competition, established in 1973, was named in his honor. The Commission on Public Relations Education came about in large part due to Bateman’s initial work on public relations education with Scott Cutlip, included in the initial 1975 report by CPRE.

Gold Anvil Award (1975)

PRSSA: A Brief History
About the Commission on Public Relations Education


Edward P. VonderHaar, PRSA President of 1968

Edward P. VonderHaar *

Appointed the “Committee on the Formation of a Student Public Relations Society,” which helped define the relationship between PRSSA Chapters and PRSA. While he was president, the PRSA Board of Directors created the first PRSSA Chapters at nine schools, with 14 “alpha” Chapters by the end of the year.

Gold Anvil Award (1973)

PRSSA: A Brief History


George Hammond, PRSA President of 1969

George Hammond, APR, Fellow PRSA *

George Hammond served as President during the year that PRSA established the first 13 PRSSA Chapters.

Hammond was also chairman of the 1972 Nominating Committee, which was the first committee to nominate a woman to serve as President of PRSA. He was a member of the inaugural class of the College of Fellows. At Carl Byoir & Associates, he created the first in-house photography and television departments in a public relations agency during the 1940s. He was also the first to have his account teamwork in the offices of the client, not the agency.

Gold Anvil Award (1973)

First recipient of the John W. Hill Award for leadership in the practice of public relations, presented by the PRSA’s New York Chapter (1977)



Donald McCammond, PRSA President of 1970

Donald McCammond, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Inaugural class of College of Fellows

Gold Anvil Award (1983)


Jon B. Riffel, PRSA President of 1971

Jon B. Riffel, APR *

As 1971 President, he worked with J. Carroll Bateman to establish PRSSA and co-founded Champions for PRSSA with Betsy Ann Plank, establishing the profession's only national scholarship program. He helped launch the U.S. Marine Corps’ "Toys for Tots" program. He worked as Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising for the Southern California Gas Company, Lockheed and North American Aviation.

PRSSA: A Brief History
PRSSA News: Jon B. Riffel Dies (2005)


Kalman B. Druck, PRSA President of 1972

Kalman B. Druck, APR, Fellow PRSA *

A PRSA founding member, Kalman B. Druck partnered to form Harshe-Rotman & Druck, which became the sixth-largest PR firm in the U.S., boasting Mattel, Hertz and The New York Times as major clients. Also a member of the inaugural class of College Fellows, he developed an evening course on public relations at City College of New York, creating the first accredited program on the subject being taught in the United States.

Gold Anvil Award (1966)


Betsy Ann Plank, PRSA President of 1973

Betsy Ann Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Betsy Ann Plank achieved multiple firsts for women: first to head a division of Illinois Bell, first woman president of Publicity Club of Chicago and PRSA, and first to receive three of PRSA’s top individual honors. In 1981 she was the National Adviser to PRSSA and co-founded Champions (Friends) of PRSSA, establishing the profession’s only national scholarship program. 

Other honors included: PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007); inaugural class of College of Fellows; founded the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations; ongoing commitment to public relations education — founding member of Commission on Public Relations Education; Public Relations Education certification program. Honored with Arthur W. Page Society’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gold Anvil (1977)
Patrick Jackson Award (2002)
David Ferguson Award (1981)
Paul M. Lund Public Service Award (1989)
Honored with Arthur W. Page Society’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award

PRSSA: A Brief History


Dr. Carl F. Hawver, PRSA President of 1974

Dr. Carl F. Hawver, APR, Fellow PRSA * 

A member of the inaugural class of College of Fellows, Hawver served executive roles in the Republican Congressional Committee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Consumer Finance Association.

Gold Anvil (1974)

Remembering Carl F Hawver (2010)


James F. Fox, PRSA President of 1975

James F. Fox, APR, Fellow PRSA * 

A member of the inaugural class of College of Fellows, James F. Fox served as the vice president of Chase Manhattan Bank and taught at New York University.

Gold Anvil (1978)


Jay Rockey, PRSA President of 1976

Jay Rockey, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Jay Rockey is credited with making the 1960 Seattle World’s Fair a rousing success. In 2002 PRSA’s Puget Sound Chapter established the Jay Rockey Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor.

Jay Rockey: 1928–2018


Kenneth Owler Smith, PRSA President of 1977

Kenneth Owler Smith, APR *

Kenneth Owler Smith is regarded for his contributions to public relations education, most notably creating USC’s international curricula in journalism, broadcasting in public relations and advertising courses, and the first degreed sports and information program in the United States. His career included service in the U.S. Army and work for Western Airlines, the Apollo space projects and two Olympics Games Awards.

Outstanding Educator Award (1979)
Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium at USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism and Communication


Frank W. Wylie, PRSA President of 1978

Frank W. Wylie, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Frank W. Wylie worked in various positions at Dodge/Chrysler for 32 years, rising to Director of Public Relations. He proposed that Dodge get into NASCAR racing to update its public image and became the lead person in that effort, hiring drivers, mechanics and pit crews and working the races on weekends. He was a member of the inaugural class of College of Fellows and PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends in 2007.

Gold Anvil Award (1982)

PRSA Remembers Past President Frank W. Wylie


Kerryn King, PRSA President of 1979

Kerryn King, APR *

Kerryn King was Senior Vice President of Texaco, an officer of Hill & Knowlton, and President of the Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education.

The New York Times Obituary (1986)


Patrick Jackson, PRSA President of 1980

Patrick Jackson, APR, Fellow PRSA *

In 1980, PRSA voted to require four courses in a university or college curriculum in order for schools to qualify for a PRSSA charter; he was a member of the inaugural class of College of Fellows, the first inductee of the Rowan College PR Hall of Fame in 1996 and a leader in adopting behavioral-based strategies and techniques to public relations practice. He was also the editor of PR Reporter, a publication showcasing best practices in the field.

Gold Anvil Award (1986)
David Ferguson Award
Arthur M. Page Distinguished Service Award (2001)
The New York Times Obituary (1986)


James A. Little, PRSA President of 1981

James A. Little, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 1981 president, PRSA strengthened the Professional Interest Sections offerings for PRSA members; brought on Betsy Kovacs, seasoned agency executive, to manage the organization following the retirement of Rea Smith; focused on upgrading the performance of profession, increasing public understanding, educating on the function and expectation of ethical conduct, and separating public relations education from its journalism roots; ten-year member of PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) and supporter of ethical enforcement for the profession.



Joseph F. Awad, PRSA President of 1982

Joseph F. Awad, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Poet Laureate of Virginia in 1998; Awad was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Career Achievement by the Society’s Old Dominion Chapter; his book, The Power of Public Relations, was published in 1985.

Inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 1992



Judith S. Bogart, PRSA President of 1983

Judith S. Bogart, APR, Fellow PRSA

PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007) 
Paul M. Lund Public Service Award (1999)


Barbara W. Hunter, PRSA President of 1984

Barbara W. Hunter, APR, Fellow PRSA

Barbara Hunter founded Hunter PR in 1989 and was the first woman to buy a major public relations agency (Dudley Anderson Yutzy). As 1984 president, achieved a much-needed major dues increase; also increased services offered to Chapters and members

PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007).



David Ferguson, PRSA President of 1985

David Ferguson, APR, Fellow PRSA *

David Ferguson was instrumental in establishing five public relations rules for PRSSA and Chapter Charter and the Certification of Education in Public Relations

Gold Anvil (1990)



Anthony M. Franco, PRSA President of 1986

Anthony M. Franco, APR

Anthony M. Franco, APR, ran Michigan’s largest public relations firm. Unfortunately, he resigned in August of his service year as president. 




John W. Felton, PRSA President of 1986-1987

John W. Felton, APR, Fellow PRSA *

John W. Felton is the only person to serve two terms as president, replacing Anthony Franco for his remaining term and serving another term in 1987; PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007).

Gold Anvil Award (1992)
David Ferguson Award




Dwayne Summar, PRSA President of 1988

Dwayne Summar, APR, Fellow PRSA

Patrick Jackson Award (2005)
Georgia PRSA Chapter Order of the Phoenix




John L. Paluszek, PRSA President of 1989

John L. Paluszek, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 1989 president, John L. Paluszek, represented PRSA at the (USIA) “US–USSR Information and Cultural Talks,” Moscow and at “Summit Dialogue – 1st East-West Public Relations Conference” U.S./Soviet reps “debate,” Vienna; liaison to United Nations for the Global Alliance and PRSA; PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007).

Gold Anvil (1994)
Patrick Jackson Award (2002)
Atlas Award (2010)
Global Alliance Chair (2009)
David Ferguson Award (2000)



H.J. (Jerry) Dalton, PRSA President of 1990

H.J. (Jerry) Dalton Jr., APR, Fellow PRSA *

Jerry Dalton was the first communications professional to head the U.S. Air Force’s Pentagon-based public affairs operations. He also was the first public affairs officer to win a star as a Brigadier General; founding president of the PRSA Foundation; Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations.

Gold Anvil (2007)




Joe S. Epley, PRSA President of 1991

Joe S. Epley, APR, Fellow PRSA

Defense Information School Hall of Fame; University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s PR Hall of Fame

Gold Anvil Award (2008)





Rosalee A. Roberts, PRSA President of 1992

Rosalee A. Roberts, APR, Fellow PRSA

Since joining PRSA in 1972, has served in all leadership positions on the local, regional and national PRSA levels  with the exception of national Treasurer.





Harland W. Warner, PRSA President of 1993

Harland W. Warner, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Harland W. Warner’s achievements include Charter Member of College of Fellows; credited as prime force behind development of “Blueprint 2000,” PRSA’s first long-term strategic plan.

Gold Anvil Award (1996)





Joseph A. Vecchione, PRSA President of 1994

Joseph A. Vecchione, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Joseph A. Vecchione had an extensive career with Prudential Insurance Company. He also served as the PRSA Foundation president (1995, 1997).

Gold Anvil Award (2002)
Paul M. Lund Public Service Award (2001)




John Beardsley, PRSA President of 1995

John Beardsley, APR *

A first adopter of new technologies, John Beardsley is credited with putting PRSA on the internet during his term of office. He worked to expand the power and relevance of the profession, with a strong focus on research, data analysis and continuous transformation.  Noted one colleague, he “talked about social networking before it existed.” Second chief executive officer (1970) in the history of the communications firm Padilla (then Padilla Speer Beardsley); served as its CEO from 1987 till he retired in 2001.


Luis W. Morales, PRSA President of 1996

Luis W. Morales, APR, Fellow PRSA

First individual from a minority background elected to serve as PRSA President; PRSA began exploring affiliate membership relationship with Puerto Rico Public Relations Association (finalized in 1999); launched the The Public Relations Strategist magazine.


Debra A. Miller, PRSA President of 1997

Debra A. Miller, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

Dr. Debra A. Miller was the first woman of color and first African-American president and second educator to lead PRSA. She also was the first woman of color to win the PRSA Gold Anvil; Multicultural Communications Section was initiated; PRSA’s annual conference became international in 1997; launched two national public service initiatives in celebration of PRSA’s 50th Anniversary — Partnership for a Drug Free America and Tobacco-Free Kids Project; PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007).

Gold Anvil Award (2006)


Mary Lynn Cusick, PRSA President of 1998

Mary Lynn Cusick, APR

Mary Lynn Cusick began her career with Bob Evans Farms, Inc, to scale the company from approximately $70 million in sales when she joined to nearly $2 billion in sales when she left as senior vice president of restaurant marketing (CMO).


Samuel L. Waltz Jr., PRSA President of 1999

Samuel L. Waltz Jr., APR, Fellow PRSA

Samuel L. Waltz Jr. is the first Fellow to serve as PRSA president; launched BEPS Review that resulted in change from enforced to Advisory Educational Standards; initiated first Membership Development Committee.


Stephen D. Pisinski, PRSA President of 2000

Stephen D. Pisinski, APR, Fellow PRSA *

Stephen D. Pisinski began his career with Ketchum in Pittsburgh, transferring to San Francisco to become Vice President and associate director; he then opened and directed the San Francisco office of Burson-Marsteller, subsequently moving to the New York office; next, opening his own agency that was acquired by Ogilvy & Mather, becoming general manager of their San Francisco office.

Stephen D. Pisinski Memorial Scholarship


Kathleen Larey Lewton, PRSA President of 2001

Kathleen Larey Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2001 president, held International Conference just weeks after 9/11 when most conferences were being cancelled; hired Catherine Bolton, first APR as executive of the Society; created Patrick Jackson Award to honor passion of “father of modern public relations” and his leadership of PRSA; brought management of member publications in-house to be more cost-effective; co-chair Commission on Public Relations Education (2016–2017); PRSA Foundation president (2009–2010); founding chair, PRSA Status of Women Program; president, Women in Communications, Inc (1980–81).

David Ferguson Award (2021)
Patrick Jackson Award (2014)
Health Academy Lifetime Achievement Award


Joann E. Killeen, PRSA President of 2002

Joann E. Killeen, APR, Fellow PRSA

Joann E. Killeen is the first PRSSA member to become PRSA president; first female PRSA president from the West Coast; as 2002 president, restructured the financial policies and procedures of PRSA leading to financial success after 9/11 hardship; restructured the PRSA ICON sponsorship program resulting in record revenue, record sponsorships, record attendance and record membership in 2002 ICON San Francisco Conference; created the Solo Practitioners Group; keynote address 2002 Global Alliance Johannesburg, South Africa; keynote speaker Institute of Public Relations London; tea in Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth’s Communications Secretary Simon Lewis.

Los Angeles PRSA Chapter Professional of the Year (2002)


Reed Bolton Byrum Sr., PRSA President of 2003

Reed Bolton Byrum Sr., APR, Fellow PRSA *

Reed Bolton Byrum Sr. began his career with Gannett Co., Inc;, held corporate leadership roles for EDS Corporation in Plano, Texas and Trilogy in Austin, Texas; counseled companies on financial structures and market positioning. In addition to holding the presidency of PRSA, Reed Byrum holds a unique distinction as he was the former president of two PRSA Chapters — South Carolina and Silicon Valley. Byrum was elected PRSA treasurer soon after losses were reported in 2000 and led the organization through a pivotal restructuring. Byrum expanded PRSA diversity initiatives in 2003 and focused on advancing professional ethics and leadership development. More than 40 U.S. universities invited him to lecture on public relations. He delivered the keynote addresses at the prestigious Don Davis Symposium on Ethics at the Pennsylvania State University, and at the Washington and Lee University’s Institute on Media Ethics.


Del Galloway, PRSA President of 2004

Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2004 president, PRSA launched Advancing Diversity to promote multiculturism in public relations and the business community, enhanced online career web site with diversity professionals, and developed the Diversity Tool Kit; established first DEIR Committee; first openly gay president of the Society; founding member of the Universal Accreditation Board; established partnership with the U.S. State Department to advance public relations around the world, resulting in a keynote address to the Croatian Public Relations Association; negotiations initiated with public relations organizations in China, resulting in a 2005 summit of PRSA and China public relations leaders in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong; Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations (2019).

Gold Anvil Award (2018)
David Ferguson Award (2019)
Alumni of Distinction, University of Florida (2002)


Judith T. Phair, PRSA President of 2005

Judith T. Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA


As 2005 president and CEO, Judith T. Phair oversaw PRSA’s first industry summit on ethics, restructured PRSA Foundation, established first endowed scholarship to honor Betsy Ann Plank, created alliances with GLBT Newswire and the Society of Human Resource Management and launched PRSA GLBT affinity group; expanded, enhanced international outreach by leading a delegation to China and Hong Kong at the invitation of Chinese, International, Shanghai, Hong Kong public relations associations; speaking on PRSA diversity program at Global Alliance annual meeting in Italy; meeting with CIPR (UK) in London to discuss/create closer relationships and partnerships; at U.S. State Department’s request, provided counsel to/presented at annual meeting of the new Croatian Public Relations Association and met with faculty at the University of Zagreb (colleague/future president Michael Cherenson was part of our two-person team); the first and only PRSA leader (to date) invited to testify on behalf of the PR profession before a U.S. Senate committee (2005). Active in advancing the ethical and excellent practice of PR education and the industry worldwide for mutual benefit through relevant programs, associations, actions; helped spearhead efforts to make CPRE a legal entity; created, taught first public relations course at Goucher College; PRSA Foundation president (2005); College of Fellows chair (2010); co-chair Practitioners Council on Public Relations Education (2019–20).

Gold Anvil Award (2010)
David Ferguson Award (2014)
Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations (2007)
PRSA–NCC Hall of Fame (2013)
PRSA MD Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)



Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, PRSA President of 2006

Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA

First African American woman to receive APR (1985); youngest inductee into PRSA College of Fellows (2000); as 2006 president, PRSA entered partnership with Canadian Public Relations Society and University of Wisconsin to align with 60th Anniversary; The Commission on Public Relations Education issued “The Professional Bond” report; revised title of volunteer leaders of PRSA to chair/CEO; launched web-based versions of Public Relations Tactics and The Public Relations Strategist publications; established MBA Initiative; created International Delegate-at-Large to represent members residing outside the United States; provided for PRSSA students to join PRSA as associate members five months before graduation; Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations (2007).

Gold Anvil Award (2011)
D. Parke Gibson Multicultural Award (2005)


Rhoda Weiss, PRSA President of 2007

Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2007 chair, PRSA celebrated its 60th and PRSSA’s 40th anniversaries; brought on new COO; co-hosted with State Department Ambassador Karen Hughes diplomacy program for members of Congress; hosted educational session at FEMA on ethics and issues management; launched peer-reviewed Public Relations Journal; co-sponsored multicultural seminars with Hispanic PR Wire at 17 PRSA Chapters; launched APR Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations study guide; recruited 500+ senior leaders and PRSA members for 39 task forces, and committees — many for the first time; reached 22,000 PRSA/10,000 PRSSA member milestone; Kellogg Foundation Fellow; Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations; pioneer/innovator in health care public relations and marketing; founding chair, American Hospital Association (AHA) Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (Leadership Excellence honoree); past president, American Society for Health Care Marketing & Public Relations and Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Association; chair, AMA Executive Summit; founder/chair Health Market Leaders 110 health system CMOs-CCOs; chair, bettertogether.health unites health systems pivoting resources to save lives; U.S. Air Force-Space Force Chiefs of Staff Civic Leader.

Gold Anvil Award (2019)
Educators Academy David Ferguson Award
Health Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
PRSA–Los Angeles Chapter Professional of the Year.
Recipient U.S. Air Force highest civilian honor
Michigan State University College of Communications Arts & Sciences Outstanding Alumni
Women in Health Administration Woman of the Year
UCLA Extension Distinguished Faculty Award


Jeffrey P. Juline, APR

Jeffrey P. Julin, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2008 chair at PRSA, Jeffrey P. Julin increased the use of social media to post remarks about the importance of truth in presidential elections, responded to CBS criticism PRSA Code of Ethics, and advancing open and respectful discourse in business and politics.


Michael G. Cherenson, PRSA President of 2009

Michael G. Cherenson, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2009 chair, Michael G. Cherenson launched the Business Case for Public Relations; unveiled a new website; merged the Diversity and Multicultural Committees to strengthen diversity focus; developed PRSA’s Hardship Program to help members navigate the recession; and promoted the development of the +M (military) certification for the APR program.



Gary D. McCormick, PRSA President of 2010

Gary D. McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2010 chair, PRSA launched the APR+M credential; created an Advocacy Advisory Board to focus on value of PR, ethics and diversity; signed the Barcelona Principles; entered strategic partnership with AMEC and held international conference in London on measurement in public relations; developed leadership partnership with Black Public Relations Society of America (BPRSA); PRSA Foundation president (2005–2006); PRSSA 40th Anniversary Legacies from Living Legends (2007); developed country’s first public participation/public outreach environmental programs for multiple federal clients.

Patrick Jackson Award (2015)
CSU Inaugural Class for Media Hall of Fame 2011
David Ferguson Award (2006)



2011 Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow-PRSA

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA

Rosanna M. Fiske is the first Latina woman to lead PRSA; as 2011 chair, PRSA launched PR Serving America to highlight pro bono/public service work of professionals; adopted the first dues increase in ten years; entered a record number of partnership agreements with diverse organizations (HPRA, BPRSA, AAAF); lobbied Congress to avoid restricting use of public relations firms on behalf of federal programs; led development of PRSA Diversity Tool Kit.

HPRA 2021 Pioneer of the Year Award
FIU School of Journalism & Mass Communications Hall of Fame


Gerard F. Corbett, PRSA President of 2012

Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2012 chair, spoke globally about PRSA and ethics in Russia, Sharjah-UAE, Hong Kong, Beijing and Melbourne, Australia (signed the Melbourne Mandate); PRSA launched the MBA Program; completed revised definition of PR covered by The New York Times; lobbied Congress on the use of public relations firms for federal programs; PRSA Silicon Valley Legacy of Service Award; global communications head for three Fortune 100 firms; Golden Flag Award participant and speaker, 2016 and 2017; adjunct professor; long-time mentor, PRSA; Board adviser, Museum of PR; decades in PR; forty-four-year member of PRSA; Accredited since 1982 23-year member of College of Fellows.




2013 Mickey G. Nall

Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2013 chair, PRSA launched the Moving Veterans Forward program; initiated 50th Anniversary Member category; funded research monies to PRSA Foundation for diversity and inclusion; launched effort to promote APR credential in advance of its 50th anniversary; first-time PRSA funding for diversity and inclusion research; Plank Center Legacies from Legends in Public Relations.

David Ferguson Award (2018)
Georgia PRSA Chapter Order of the Phoenix
University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Hall of Fame



Joseph E. Cohen, PRSA President of 2014

Joseph E. Cohen, APR

As 2014 chair, PRSA expanded integrated marketing programming and professional development offerings; launched roll-out of PRSA MBA Initiative in 2011–12 (with Tony D’Angelo, Ray Crockett and Paul Argenti); President of PRSA Foundation (2019-2020); published “Diverse Voices” book with Museum of Public Relations and Judith Harrison (2018).

PRWeek Power Book (multiple years)
PRSA–NY Harold Burson Award (2021)
PRWeek Outstanding In-House Team for AXIS (2020)




Kathy Barbour, PRSA President of 2015

Kathy Barbour, APR, Fellow PRSA

Under Kathy Barbour’s leadership, PRSA’s new CEO and President Joseph P. Truncale begins; initiated brand assessment for PRSA.



2016 Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mark McClennan successfully built a coalition to fight and win against a New York State JCOPE finding that would require any PR professional doing business in New York State to register as a lobbyist; committed $500,000 to diversity and inclusion initiatives; modernized technology infrastructure to enable delivery of more professional development virtually.


Jane Dvorak, PRSA President of 2017

Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2017 chair, Jane Dvorak established the HBCU/Diversity Initiative; created PRSA Proud with Southwest District Leadership to provide support to impacted communities and members in Houston, Texas and Florida from natural disasters from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Marie; implemented Framework for the Future, PRSA's first strategic plan tied to operational goals; celebrated PRSA's 70th Anniversary; and saw the largest transition of PRSSA to PRSA membership to-date.

CSU Journalism and Public Relations Hall of Fame 2016



Anthony W. D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA

As 2018 chair, Anthony W. D’Angelo implemented significant investment in the Society’s IT infrastructure, greatly improving functionality and member benefits; led collaboration of 15 professional associations in an advocacy initiative to support journalists and a free press; participated in the leading Chinese PR association’s Golden Flag Awards in Beijing, which led to its leaders’ participation in the Silver Anvil Awards ceremony and a PRSA Board of Directors meeting the following year.



2019 Debra Peterson APR

Debra D. Peterson, APR

Under Debra D. Peterson’s leadership, ICON achieved its second-highest attendance for the International Conference in PRSA history; began development of PRSA’s first 3-year D&I strategic plan; launched revised PRSA.org website; during 2019, Joseph Truncale steps down as CEO, CFO Philip Bonaventura takes on interim role.




2018 Anthony W. D'Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA

T. Garland Stansell, APR

Global COVID-19 Pandemic – pivoted to COVID-specific programming; approved formation of Voices4Everyone advocacy education and resources; created the Civility Task Force; launched Global Capabilities framework (career resource) in partnership with the Global Alliance; developed first PRSA Strategic Plan with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as a specific strategic priority as part of the plan and with a separate DE&I Strategic Plan. PRSA’s new President and CEO, Linda Thomas-Brooks, hired.



2021 Michelle Olsen

Michelle Olson, APR

As 2021 Chair, Michelle Olson, APR, launched PRSA’s Voices4Everyone platform; expanded PRSA and Puerto Rico Public Relations membership agreement; offered In Between Jobs program; PRSA launched a new search tool helping users connect with agencies, professionals, and service providers; created a mentorship program for PRSSA members from HBCU and HSI institutions; hosted first virtual District Town Hall meetings.

PRNEWS’ Top Women in PR Award (2020 and 2021); Bronze Stevie® Award – Female Thought Leader of the Year – Government or Non-Profit (2021); Named one of Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business by BizAZ Magazine (2018); PRSA Phoenix Chapter PERCY Award (2003).

In 2021, the Minnesota State University at Moorhead Chapter of PRSSA renamed itself in her honor, the Michelle Foulk Olson PRSSA Chapter. Her alma mater also named her a Distinguished Alumnus in 2021.

PRSA’s Voices4Everyone offers resources on disinformation, DE&I, civility and more

PRSA and Puerto Rico Public Relations Association Announce Expanded Membership Agreement

PRSA rolls out matchmaker search tool

PRSSA, Finn Partners launch mentorship program for students of color

PRNEWS Announces Honorees for 2021 Top Women in PR

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PRSA is excited to provide all PRSA Chapters, Sections and Districts with tools and resources to help everyone commemorate PRSA’s 75th Anniversary.


We are thrilled to join together on social media to spotlight history-making contributions made over the years by public relations and communications professionals.


This commemoration will run throughout 2022 and culminate in PRSA Day on Jan. 17, 2023.

Download the Toolkit


PRSA 75th Anniversary