Monthly Meetings Put Chapter in the News

    For our August program meeting, the Hampton Roads chapter sponsored a round-table discussion entitled “Lessons Learned from the UVA President Crisis,” about PR lessons learned from the recent turmoil surrounding this summer’s attempted dismissal of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan.

    Thanks to the hard work and personal connections of "PR for PR" chairman Joel Rubin, APR, the chapter arranged for a panel discussion that featured five local civic leaders with experience serving on Boards of Visitors from various Virginia universities, including one current board member of the University of Virginia (Vince Mastracco).  Also participating were two former board members from other colleges (Gordon Morse--VCU, Ferrum; Sonny Stallings--ODU), one in-coming board member to another Virginia school (Tara Corrigall--Mary Washington), and a sitting president from yet another college in the state (Tony Atwater--NSU).  Rubin, a former TV newsman and a University of Virginia alum (’75) moderated the program.   

    As we all know, a groundswell of protests against the ouster of the popular UVA president that originated with students and faculty on campus quickly spread throughout the Commonwealth via alumni social media sharing and ever-growing news accounts; eventually the episode became a national news item that impacted everything from UVA’s academic prestige to alumni relations to fundraising and donations.      

    Our Aug. 14 meeting was attended by 58 chapter members and guests -- not too shabby considering it was the middle of summer.   Two print media reporters and an editorial writer covered the event, which resulted (so far) in a front-page story in Norfolk, Va., The Virginian-Pilot newspaper (Wednesday, Aug. 15),  http://hamptonroads.com/2012/08/mastracco-uva-presidential-conflict-brought-embarrassment and Inside Business,  http://insidebiz.com/news/uva-debacle-becomes-teachable-moment, as well as small recap in the Sunday business section (Aug. 19) and a letter to the editor (Aug. 20) written by Joel.

    Several programs this year have generated some positive news coverage for our chapter, and that's due to the "behind-the-scenes" work of chapter members who help bring together speakers and topics that are educational for our members as well as interesting or provocative to non-member colleagues and their guests.  Many thanks to Joel, Sean Brickell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Carol Merica, Harry Kenyon, APR, Sid Bridge, APR and Mindy Hughes, APR, for their assistance this year to deliver excellent programs and produce well-run meetings.   

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