UA’s Plank Center Elects Leaders
CHICAGO, Ill. – The board of advisors for The University of Alabama’s Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations has elected a chair, a vice chair and a member-at-large to its executive committee.
Ron Culp, professional director of the public relations and advertising graduate program at DePaul University, was elected chair to replace John “Jack” Koten. Culp headed public relations and government affairs at Sears before beginning an agency career that included Ketchum, where he was a partner and managing director of the agency’s Midwest operations, and North American Corporate Practice.
Keith Burton, president of Insidedge—GolinHarris, was elected vice chair, and Rick White, the chief communications officer for Wisconsin Energy Corp., was named at-large member to the board’s executive committee.
Four members of the inaugural board were named advisors emeriti for their significant contributions and service to the Center:
• Jack Koten, retired senior VP of corporate communications for Ameritech, chairman emeritus;
• Jack Felton, president and CEO emeritus, Institute for Public Relations;
• Linda Hon, Ph.D., senior associate dean, College of Journalism & Communications, University of Florida; and
• André Taylor, retired vice president of communications, Alagasco
“Thanks to our highly engaged board, the Plank Center and its programs have grown dramatically since its founding seven years ago,” said Dr. Karla Gower, director of the Plank Center, and Behringer Distinguished Professor in the department of advertising and public relations at UA. “Our new leadership will advance the mission envisioned by the late Betsy Plank, who was dedicated to building stronger ties between academicians and PR practitioners.”
About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations
In 2005, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees established The Plank Center, named for public relations leader and UA alumna, the late Betsy Plank, to develop and recognize outstanding performance in the profession and classroom. Through a variety of programs, and in concert with groups and associations, the Center works to nurture and help develop outstanding leaders.
In addition to national leaders in the practice and education, the Center Board includes an ex officio position for the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, which represents more than 10,000 members in 300-plus colleges and universities.
The Center is housed in UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. UA’s public relations program, with nearly 600 students, is the largest undergraduate degree program in the college. The program is certified by the Public Relations Society of America and for four consecutive years has been ranked among the top five public relations programs in the country by PRWeek Magazine.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.