History

A Legacy of Leadership

PRSSA has a rich legacy of leadership and growth due to the work of the visionary professionals and students who have served the Society. This legacy is described below and is detailed in full in, “Public Relations Society of America: A Brief History” (PDF).

How We Started

PRSSA owes its existence to the influence of three exceptional advocates — Chris Teahan, Jon Riffel, APR, and J. Carroll Bateman, APR — who led an 18-year struggle by educators, students and practitioners to form a student Society. They reached their triumph in November 1967 at the PRSA Assembly in Philadelphia, where delegates voted unanimously to establish PRSSA.

The PRSA Board of Directors chartered the first PRSSA Chapters on April 4, 1968, at nine qualified schools: University of Florida, University of Houston, University of Maryland, Ohio State University, San Jose State University, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, Utica College and West Virginia University. PRSSA began with just 196 members.

Three additional Chapters — University of Central Missouri, University of North Dakota and Syracuse University — were approved on June 28. Kent State University received its charter on Sept. 13 and Northern Illinois University on Nov. 17. These 14 Alpha Chapters were the humble beginnings of PRSSA as we know it today.

Since then, PRSSA has progressed through the leadership of its past National Committees and the support of leaders like the Champions for PRSSA, the PRSA Foundation and Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Milestones

PRSSA now serves more than 11,000 students at 300-plus Chapters in the United States, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Some milestones in PRSSA’s development include: