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Edinboro University PRSSA chapter receives national award


The Edinboro University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Northwest Pennsylvania chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) have teamed up to bring national attention to the public relations profession in the Erie region.

Edinboro’s PRSSA chapter received the Teahan Award for Outstanding PRSA/PRSSA Relationship at the PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 28. PRSSA’s Teahan Awards program annually recognizes outstanding performance among the organization’s more than 300 chapters nationwide.  Recent winners in the Outstanding PRSA/PRSSA Relationship category include Brigham Young University, Ohio University and Kent State University.

          “To be recognized among the top public relations programs in the nation is a ringing endorsement of the chapter, our department and the entire university,” said Dr. Tony Peyronel, chair of the department of communication and media studies and faculty advisor to the university’s PRSSA chapter. “What makes this particular award even more special is that it also brings national attention to our host professional chapter and recognizes the way we have worked together, not only to create countless professional development opportunities for students, but to advance the overall practice of public relations in this region.”

Edinboro was awarded its PRSSA charter in 2003. PRSA-Pittsburgh served as its host chapter until 2010, when a small group of public relations professionals in the region established the Northwestern Pennsylvania chapter of PRSA, the culmination of a multi-year effort designed to better meet the needs of public relations professionals in Erie, Crawford and Warren counties. Membership in the new professional chapter has grown to 24. The Outstanding PRSA/PRSSA Relationship award includes a plaque for the sponsoring professional chapter and a $300 cash prize for the winning student chapter.

“I have had the pleasure of working alongside the student and faculty leadership from Edinboro’s PRSSA chapter over the past two years and have found this relationship to be extremely valuable,” said Matthew Cummings, current NWPA PRSA chapter president and director of communications at the School District of the City of Erie. “The Northwestern Pennsylvania chapter of PRSA has also benefited significantly from our relationship with Edinboro’s PRSSA through event collaboration, cross promotion, membership growth and prospect identification, enhanced credibility, and chapter board involvement by PRSSA students – an initiative we launched in 2012 to further strengthen the PRSA-PRSSA relationship and add the valuable student perspective to our board.”

Katie Close, a 2013 Edinboro graduate, was the first EUP PRSSA chapter president to serve on the professional board. Other chapter presidents have followed suit, including students from Mercyhurst University’s chapter, which is also hosted by NWPA PRSA.  Peyronel is a founding board member and past president of the professional chapter, and Cummings is a graduate of the communication program at Edinboro.

PRSA is the nation’s largest community of public relations and communications professionals. The organization, with more than 21,000 members, sets professional standards and serves as a leading voice in the public relations industry, advocating for a greater understanding and adoption of public relations services.

Created by PRSA in 1968, PRSSA is a pre-professional organization designed to build positive relationships between public relations professionals and students who are studying public relations. PRSSA also provides its 10,000 members with a variety of professional development opportunities as well as scholarships, award programs and other regional and national activities.

This is the second Teahan Award that Edinboro’s student chapter has won. The group also received the Teahan Award for Best Regional Activity in 2008.