Student organization to honor retired professor

The university’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America is in the process of re-naming the campus organization to honor a retired professor for the notable work she did both locally and nationally for public relations education, a PRSSA representative said.

Amiso George, the PRSSA head faculty adviser, said Doug Newsom deserves to be a part of the student organization’s title. Newsom taught at the university and was also actively involved with the Public Relations Society of America.

“I had proposed the idea to the PRSSA executive board because I believe, and other people agree, that Doug Newsom.has contributed a lot by doing the kind of work that has garnered both regional, national and international attention,” George said.

According to the PRSA website, the organization is a community of more than 21,000 public relations professionals from across the United States. Universities across the country offer the student companion group to encourage college students to uphold the standards of excellence and ethics before they become professionals.

Newsom co-founded the PRSA educator’s section and is one of four members to be inducted into the College of Fellows, which is the highest achievement that any PR professional can accomplish, George said.

“She is the kind of person that the PRSSA really represents,” George said. “She is somebody who understands the theoretical aspect of public relations and is also involved with the practical aspect.”

Newsom retired in May after more than 40 years of teaching at the university, George said. Newsom wrote three books, hundreds of articles and served as the chair of the journalism department from 1979 until 1986.

She has been president of both the Dallas and Fort Worth PRSA chapters and president of the Texas Public Relations Association, George said. She said Newsom was, and still is, someone who had a lot of clout in the public relations field.

If the national executive board supports the change, then the new name of the organization would be the Doug Newsom Chapter of the PRSSA at TCU, George said. She has sent an e-mail to the president of the Fort Worth chapter asking permission for the change.

“Doug Newsom is a very humble person who would probably say it isn’t such a big deal, when it is actually an outstanding honor,” George said.

Newsom said she was unsure about the honor. She said she hoped that the university had gone through the necessary steps to make sure the national board allowed the change to be made.

“I’m of course enormously flattered, but I want to make sure it is confirmed by the national board,” Newsom said.

George said the Schieffer School has already passed the change, but she must go through a formal application process with the PRSSA national board of directors. That process usually takes between three and six months, George said.

“It is more of a formality,” George said. “And since the university has already signed off on it, I am confident that the national board of directors will support the change in name.”

Katie Pool, a senior strategic communication major and current university PRSSA president, said the addition of Newsom’s name to the organization is a great idea.

“She was a wonderful professor who was really involved with the PRSSA on campus,” Pool said. “We use the textbook that she wrote, and she is famous worldwide for her work in public relations, so it is only appropriate that we include her name in our title.”

George agreed and said Newsom deserved to be mentioned in the PRSSA title because of all she has done for the university. Her dedication to the field, along with her many accomplishments, helped inspire students to become upstanding public relation professionals.

“This is a big deal for the TCU PRSSA,” George said. “Her name means so much in the communications world.”