CPRE Elects Officers and Announces Goals for 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CPRE Elects Officers and Announces Goals for 2024

The Commission on Public Relations Education has elected officers and announced goals for 2024. Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, will serve as co-chair representing public relations practitioners, and Dr. Julie O’Neil, APR, will serve as co-chair representing public relations educators. Chris Braithwaite will be vice chair. Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA, will serve as secretary, and Neil Foote will continue as treasurer.

Gary D. McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, served as the director of corporate communications marketing and public relations for Scripps Networks Interactive, parent company of cable networks HGTV and DIY Network. Gary joined Scripps Networks after 17 years of public relations and public affairs support to federal government clients.

Gary served as the Chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America in 2010. He served as the president of the PRSA Foundation in 2006 and 2007 and has been a co-chair of the Champions for PRSSA since 2005. He has been recognized for his contributions as the 2023 PRSA Gold Anvil recipient, the 2015 recipient of its Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA and the 2006 Honoree of the Educators Academy David Ferguson Award. He was inducted into the inaugural class of his alma mater’s Hall of Fame in Journalism and Public Relations at Colorado State University in 2011.

Dr. Julie O’Neil, APR, is Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Administration for the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. She combines her corporate and nonprofit background, degrees in public relations and business, a desire to connect the academy and practitioners, and a love for teaching and learning to improve public relations practice. She researches and teaches in the areas of public relations, data and strategy, and internal communication. She is a member of the Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission. She is the former Senior Associate Editor of the Public Relations Journal.

Chris Brathwaite is a global chief communications officer and executive most recently for Tenneco Incorporated. His career journey has seen him move from one side of the microphone to the other and he’s led communications and served as a chief spokesman for some of the world’s leading companies in their respective industries, including State Farm, United Airlines and Sears Holdings. He has a passion for mentoring, coaching along with diversity, equity and inclusion. He’s also a member of the Page Society.

Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Chair and Associate Professor of Communication at SUNY Buffalo State University and Coordinator of the online M.S. in Public Relations degree program. She was a public relations professional and a print and broadcast journalist before becoming a college professor.

In addition to serving on the Commission, most recently as chair of its DEI Committee, she served on the national PRSA Board for five years, including a year as treasurer, and is a past chair of PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. She also is faculty adviser to Buffalo State’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter. She has published scholarly articles and book chapters in the areas of public relations ethics, service learning in the public relations curriculum, and crisis communication.

Neil Foote is the Executive Director of Frisco Marketing Strategy for the University of North Texas. His primary role is to help market and promote UNT at Frisco, its College of Applied and Collaborative Studies, and establish strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations to support UNT’s students and faculty.

Foote formerly was a principal lecturer at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism where for more than 15 years, he taught classes in media entrepreneurship, business journalism, media management and multimedia storytelling. He also was director of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, one the nation’s premier conferences for writers. A longtime journalist, public relations professional, and digital media executive, Foote was recently inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame and UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism C.E. Shuford Hall of Honor.

The Commission’s goals for 2024 include the following:

  • Develop a New Strategic Plan for 2024 -2027 to guide the actions and activities of the Commission and its member organizations. With the 2023 Research completed and the celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Commission has an opportunity maximize the visibility it has garnered over the last year through strategic goals and objectives over the next three years.
  • Continue to Raise Awareness of 2023 Report. With a revised website and increased support by a Communication/Promotion Committee, the Commission will continue to find content from the 2023 to promote.
  • Expand Opportunities for Research Summits/Webinars/Presentations. Increased interest following the 50th Anniversary and the launch of the 2023 Report by both sponsors and member organizations will allow for the Commission to continue to engage practitioners and educators with the Commission and its research.
  • Develop Policies and Procedures based upon new Bylaws. With the revised bylaws, a Task Force will continue to look at the policies and procedures that are needed to effectively manage the Commission and its operations.
  • Continue to fundraise to support CPRE. While the Commission had a successful initial start toward fundraising to underwrite the 2023 Report and sponsor the 50th Anniversary, a long-term strategy for support is needed to ensure the ongoing operation of the Commission. Through the strategic planning process, the Commission is looking to develop a long-term funding strategy.

Details about the Commission can be found at its website: https://www.commissionpred.org/.


About CPRE: The Commission on Public Relations Education, the authoritative voice on public relations education, was founded in 1973 by the Public Relations Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and the Public Relations Society of America to address the quality of public relations education in the United States.

Since then, CPRE has issued periodic research reports and recommendations on undergraduate and graduate education in public relations for universities, accrediting bodies, and professional associations around the world. Today, with 24 member organizations in the U.S. and abroad, CPRE operates year-round as a 501(c)3 organization in partnership with the Institute for Public Relations and continues to offer a forum for public relations education with a global perspective.

Contact: Stacey Smith
Email: ssmith@jjwpr.com
Phone: (603) 205-6302