In 2019, Temple University’s PRSSA Chapter is proud to be celebrating 50 years of networking, leadership and mentorship. After 50 years of hard work and dedication, an anniversary gala will bring students and alumni together to celebrate the accomplishments of the largest and longest-standing PRSSA Chapter in the Philadelphia region, a nationally distinguished “Alpha Chapter” and the 10th largest Chapter in the country.
Since 1969, Temple PRSSA has been providing members with hands-on field experience through professional events, community engagement, mentoring and fundraising. The field of public relations has changed immensely since the Chapter’s birth. Over the years, Temple PRSSA has been evolving with the fast-paced, ever-changing public relations industry to prepare our members for entering the field.
In honor of Temple PRSSA’s 50th anniversary, the Chapter led several popular social media initiatives, including the “50 Things I Love” campaign. During this campaign, Temple PRSSA asked 50 members and alumni what they love most about PRSSA. Posts included testimonials on PRSSA’s mentorship opportunities, professional development, extensive PR network and lifelong friendships. We also featured an array of over 30 alumni spotlights to get a glimpse into what our predecessors do daily in their jobs. To see our 50th-anniversary campaigns, visit our Instagram page (@TemplePRSSA).
During the past five decades, the Chapter has won dozens of prestigious awards, sent students to national PRSSA conferences across the United States and hosted student-run local and regional conferences. The Chapter even launched a widely successful Nationally Affiliated Student-run Firm in 2008, PRowl Public Relations.
Brian Mattes, a Temple University alum who served as the 1976–1977 Chapter president and is a retired principal and director of government relations at Vanguard, attributes much of his career success to his involvement in Temple PRSSA.
“I joined Temple PRSSA in 1975 intending to learn more about the practice of public relations by meeting with pros in the business and to perhaps work on a PR campaign to gain additional knowledge and understanding,” he said. “In many ways, I credit Temple University’s Chapter of PRSSA with being the spark that ignited my 40-year career in communications.”
During the Chapter’s existence, Temple PRSSA has had only three Faculty Advisers who have elevated the Chapter to the organization it is today. Dr. Leroy M. Carl, an assistant professor of journalism, served as the Chapter’s original Faculty Adviser in 1969. Dr. Carl was followed by Dr. Jean Brodey (1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s), a public relations professor who also directed the department internship program. Professor Gregg Feistman, assistant chair for public relations, has served as the Faculty Adviser for the Chapter since 2002.
“As the Faculty Adviser of one of the oldest Chapters in the country, I have watched Temple PRSSA thrive as a result of many talented, diligent student leaders who are dedicated to making a difference in the public relations industry. This important milestone calls for a much-deserved celebration of all our Chapter has achieved since 1969,” said Feistman.
To start the next 50 years, Temple PRSSA is undertaking new endeavors starting in Spring 2020, including hosting one of eight PRSSA District Conferences. The Mid-Atlantic District Conference, PRogress Through Tech, will invite students and professionals to Philadelphia to explore emerging technology and how practitioners can integrate traditional PR skills to these changes.
“It is incredible to see how far we have come as a Chapter,” said Emma McClain, the 2019–2020 Chapter president. “Looking ahead, I hope we can take the next 50 years to continue our growth while serving as a role model to developing PRSSA Chapters and future leaders in the industry,” she said.
Dylan Manderbach is a junior public relations major with a minor in journalism studies at Temple University. He is currently the director of public relations for Temple PRSSA.