Gainesville, Fla. – The Public Relations Society of America Educators Academy has awarded Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, the 2017 David Ferguson Award Academy for outstanding contributions to the advancement of public relations education on the part of public relations professionals. The award honors the late David Ferguson, APR, Fellow PRSA, in recognition of his outstanding support to public relations education as PRSA president in 1985 and later as co-chair of the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee.

Dr. McCorkindale has served on the Universal Accreditation Board, co-chairing the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations Committee for two years. She served as PRSSA National Faculty Adviser, a member of the PRSA MBA Committee, and as a member of the Commission for Public Relations Research and Education. She serves on multiple research journal editorial boards, the University of Florida School of Journalism and Communication Public Relations Advisory Board, the AMEC Academic Advisory Board, and is a Board member of the Global Alliance, serving as a representative of academic and research organizations. Dr. McCorkindale frequently speaks to university classes around the world, and she is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a professional association for senior public relations executives. 

“Giving back to the profession by supporting the next generation of leaders and their professors is critically important to me,” said Dr. McCorkindale. “I am honored to join such past recipients who I have long admired.”

Under Dr. McCorkindale’s leadership, the Institute for Public Relations has added two student award programs, started an IPR Street Team comprising student members, and launched a new conference, The Bridge, bringing academics and professionals together. Additionally, IPR merged its academic journal with PRSA’s PR Journal, connecting the academy and the practice through research that matters to the profession.

“On behalf of the Educators, I can say that Tina receiving this award, means a great deal to us,” said Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor at American University and PRSA Educators Academy Chair. “She was our leader for many years, and played a pivotal role in our success and where we are today. Tina represents so much– a fearless leader, an extraordinary researcher, an endearing mentor, and a charismatic CEO. We are so proud.”

Ferguson recognized the importance of public relations education to the profession and helped to establish the five public relations course rule for creating and maintaining a PRSSA Chapter Charter. Ferguson’s leadership established the PRSA Certification program. This program enabled universities with public relations programs outside of journalism to achieve program review and those within journalism to have the benefit of an in-depth review by teams comprised entirely of public relations professionals and faculty. The review process allowed reporting to top university administration as to the status of the program. The award is intended to recognize practitioners who have shown a commitment to public relations education similar to that of their late colleague, David Ferguson.

Dr. McCorkindale was presented the award at the PRSA Educators Academy Super Saturday reception on October 7, 2017.


Sarah Jackson
Communications Manager
Institute for Public Relations

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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