Public Relations Tactics

Student Society Celebrates 50 Years

November 1, 2017

The following edited excerpt is from the white paper “PRSSA: A Brief History.”


In 1965, Howard Penn Hudson, APR, chairman of PRSA’s Education Committee, again pressed for formal affiliation with students whose on-campus PR “clubs,” “fraternities,” or “societies” had meanwhile increased to six in number.

The first step was taken when representatives of each of the six schools were invited by Ovid Davis, APR, 1965 president of PRSA, to attend that year’s National Conference in Denver as guests of PRSA. Their welcome by professionals, most of whom had never before met face to face that new species, the public relations student, prompted Robert B. Wolcott Jr., APR, 1966 President of PRSA, to invite a repeat performance in New York.

In April 1967, the Long Range Planning Committee of PRSA issued a statement at the PRSA Spring Assembly in Pebble Beach, California: “Perhaps our greatest concern for the future is the question of where the ‘next generation’ of practitioners will come from. Let public relations grow wild, without the benefit of academic preparation, and a half century from now it will be as forgotten as phrenology.”

J. Carroll Bateman, APR, 1967 PRSA president, immediately appointed a joint advisory committee. Chris Teahan, who was Education Director at PRSA at that time, prepared a position paper on the subject – including a proposed constitution and set of bylaws governing the hypothetical student society.

The paper was presented to the PRSA Assembly at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia on Nov.11, 1967. It received unanimous approval. The Public Relations Student Society of America was born.

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