BOSTON: Boston University's College of Communications has established its first academic chair in the field of PR. It's named for Burson-Marsteller chairman Harold Burson.
Dr. Otto Lerbinger, professor of PR and the longest-serving faculty member at BU, was named the first chair.
"Even when you are very good at what you do, you can't afford to be complacent," said John Schultz, dean of BU's College of Communications. "This chair underscores the reputation that we have enjoyed as the oldest PR program in the country."
Over 50 years ago, BU became the nation's first school of higher learning to offer a master's degree in PR. Today, the university's College of Communications has an enrollment of more than 2,400 students, divided among three departments - journalism, film and television, and mass communication, advertising, and public relations.
Funding for the endowment, provided by Burson and fellow WPP company Young & Rubicam, will go towards an improved focus on teaching and researching best practices in PR and public affairs. A series of lectures, some given by Burson staffers, exploring current events as they relate to communications will be offered throughout the academic year.
"When we turn out a better product, it enhances the quality of what is going on in the [PR] industry," said Schultz.