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The University of Alabama

UA’s Plank Center Names 2013 Mentoring Honorees

The Plank CenterTUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at The University of Alabama has unveiled its six honorees for the 2013 Milestones in Mentoring Awards, established in 2010 to honor those who lead by example, modeling the way through two-way communication and exemplary behaviors.

This year’s honorees will be recognized during the Honoring Milestones in Mentoring Awards Gala at the Union League Club of Chicago Thursday, Nov. 14. Honorees are nominated by their peers and colleagues in six categories:

  • Legacy: recognizes those who have touched the lives of countless public relations professionals over the course of their exceptional careers.
  • Executive: honors executives who have exemplified the concept of mentorship.
  • Corporate: recognizes corporate communication professionals for mentorship.
  • Agency: recognizes those who have been outstanding mentors in an agency.
  • Educator: goes to educators who have been instrumental in mentoring students and future educators. This award is named in honor of Dr. Bruce K. Berger, an exceptional public relations leader and educator.
  • Young Professional: honors young professionals who are up-and-coming leaders and are already paying it forward.

The Plank Center is proud to honor the following remarkable individuals who have demonstrated the power of leadership through mentoring:

  • Legacy: Don Kirchoffner, senior communications consultant, Don Kirchoffner & Associates (posthumously)
  • Executive: Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  • Corporate: Mike Fernandez, corporate vice president, Corporate Affairs, Cargill
  • Agency: John Deveney, president, Deveney Communication
  • Bruce K. Berger Educator: Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Young Professional: Nick Lucido, senior account executive, Edelman Digital

“Each of us is more successful today because of the efforts of another – be it a peer, teacher or boss who offered us advice and guidance,” said Plank Center Chairman Ron Culp. “We believe that mentoring is important to success in leadership. We recognize and congratulate these remarkable individuals for demonstrating the power of leadership through mentoring.”

The Honoring Milestones in Mentoring Awards Gala will feature a reception, dinner and awards ceremony on the evening of Nov. 14 at the Union League Club of Chicago. Individual and table reservations will be available for purchase at the Plank Center website (

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 that represents more than 11,000 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 within the College. The program is certified by the Public Relations Society of America and for five consecutive years has been ranked among the top five public relations programs in the country by PRWeek magazine.

More information about the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations can be found at

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.

  • CONTACT: Misty Mathews, communication specialist, 205/348-6416,
  • SOURCE: Dr. Karla Gower, director, Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, 205/348-0132,