History of Institute for Public Relations

Year in Review

A 50-Year Timeline From The Institute for Public Relations


  • Chartered as the Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education


  • Fellowship Program brings selected professors into outstanding public relations departments or firms; 70 educators and 50 sponsors participate over two decades


  • First Annual Distinguished Lecture; leading scholars and practitioners explore public relations history and professional issues
  • Grant supports new Communication, Public Opinion and Management course at Cornell University Graduate School of Business & Public Administration


  • First Foundation-supported bibliography of public relations studies; later editions appear in Public Relations Review


  • Begin audiovisual archives project preserving contemporary professional history through interviews with leading practitioners


  • First book on Public Relations Law


  • Opinion of the Publics, a documentary film of public relations case histories, is released; ultimately seen by 15 million people


  • Publish A Design for Public Relations Education, the first curricular guidelines by the Commission on Public Relations Education
  • Launch Public Relations Review, the first peer-reviewed research journal in the field; produced by a commercial publisher since 1988


  • Publish Managing Your Public Relations: Guidelines for Nonprofit Organizations
  • With University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, initiate an annual week-long symposium for high-potential public relations leaders


  • Introduce Best Master’s Thesis Award for graduate PR student research; now sponsored by Northwestern Mutual
  • The Executive Speechmaker provides a structured approach to speech programs


  • Community Service Competition launched with National Communication Council for Human Services; students mount public relations campaigns for local charities


  • Pathfinder Award, funded by practitioner, educator and author Allen H. Center, created to recognize original program of scholarly research


  • First Golden Writing Awards for public relations students
  • Advancing Public Relations: Recommended Curriculum for Graduate Public Relations Education, published with Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
  • Begin annual breakfast at AEJMC to foster closer relations with key educators


  • Publish first book on New Technology and Public Relations, including early look at the Internet


  • Name changed to Institute for Public Relations Research and Education


  • Produce Communications that Count video on value of public relations


  • Public Relations Executive Forum established for high-potential, midcareer corporate communications people; now co-sponsored by Arthur W. Page Society
  • Ketchum Excellence in PR Research Award starts as the Smart Grant and Internship


  • PR Evaluation Summit Meeting lays groundwork for Commission on Public Relations Measurement & Evaluation in 1998
  • Institute’s first website begins offering all of our publications free


  • First International Symposium, When in Rome Do We Do as the Romans Do? presented with University of Florida College of Business Administration


  • Corporate Communications Policy Concerning the Internet surveys senior-level corporate public relations officers
  • Institute research award presented at first Interdisciplinary Public Relations Research Conference at University of Maryland; IPRRC now held in conjunction with University of Miami each year
  • Establish Alexander Hamilton Medal for lifetime contribution to professional public relations


  • Psychology and Public Relations Today is the first in a series of interdisciplinary bibliographies sponsored by General Motors


  • Primer of Public Relations Research by Dr. Don W. Stacks published by Guilford Press


  • Co-sponsor Arthur W. Page Society Case Writing Competition to develop more business school teaching material involving public relations
  • International Index of Bribery for News Coverage published in cooperation with the International Public Relations Association


  • Create Golden Ruler Award for excellence in measurement; renamed for Jack Felton in 2006
  • With PRWeek, explore measurement from perspectives of clients, agencies, researchers and educators
  • International Distinguished Lecture by Harold Burson, and first Business School Seminar with Henley Management College and PRWeek-UK


  • Public Relations Leadership Forum launched for highpotential agency executives; co-sponsored by Page Society and Council of PR Firms
  • Science Beneath the Art column debuts in PR News


  • 50th anniversary celebrated with launch of Summit on Corporate Communications


  • The Institute funded a third edition of an international PR case studies book by Dr. Judy Turk and Linda Scanlan, sponsored by Schering-Plough and Philips Electronics
  • Dr. W. Timothy Coombs authored “Crisis Management and Communications,” examining the research base in this area


  • IPR published “A Professional’s Guide to Guest Lecturing,” a book by Tom Martin of The College of Charleston


  • IPR featured in  cover story in PR Magazine, flagship publication of the China International Public Relations Association


  • Richard Edelman delivers the 50th Annual Distinguished Lecture, “Reimagining Our Profession, Public Relations for a Complex World”.  Bill Nielsen accepts the Alexander Hamilton Medal for lifetime achievement in public relations.