Campaign launched to create PR center

by Stacey Oparnica

Last Friday, dozens gathered at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center to celebrate the launch of a $1.5 million campaign to create the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations at San Diego State.

The center, which will be located in the School of Journalism & Media Studies, will provide an internship program, student advising and career development for public relations students. In addition, the center will promote research activities for faculty and graduate students and will offer training programs for working professionals.

“I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt this center will help perpetuate the model and the professional involvement of our field,” professor emeritus  of public relations Glen Broom said. “And that’s the goal—to make public relations a professional endeavor.”

College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts Dean Joyce Gattas told SDSU NewsCenter that a center like this doesn’t exist anywhere in the nation.

Photo by J. Hutton Marshall, managing editor
Photo by J. Hutton Marshall, managing editor

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman and Gattas hosted the event, where key donors, public relations alumni and community professionals honored Broom for his literary accomplishments and academic contributions.

Broom is widely recognized for his work as the author and coauthor of the last five editions of “Effective Public Relations,” the standard public relations textbook used in classrooms worldwide.

“It’s a thing we, as professionals, refer to frequently,” SDSU communications graduate and Associated Students marketing communications manager Lorena Nava Ruggero said.

Ruggero was Broom’s former student and recipient of two Glen Broom Public Relations Society of America scholarships.

“It really puts into perspective the type and caliber of faculty we have here on campus and that we have here specifically in that program, as well,” Ruggero said.

During his 30-year career as an SDSU professor, Broom created one of the top 10 public relations programs in the country.

Although Broom retired in 2008, SDSU’s School of Journalism & Media Studies Director Diane Borden believes the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations will honor his legacy by giving journalism faculty and students an opportunity to generate research. Throughout the event Broom’s former students and colleagues credited him for their successful careers.

“Many of the fundamentals of my career that I’ve been able to pass onto people in my department are based on all I learned from Dr. Broom and the fabulous work he’s done through San Diego State University,” Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice President and Chief Communication officer Diana Lofgren said in a collective tribute video played during the event.

SDSU public relations graduate and Broom’s former student Brittany Rawlings echoed Lofgren’s statement and said Broom deserves the award. Rawlings, who is the account executive for global PR firm Fleishman-Hillard, even had Broom autograph her copy of “Effective Public Relations.”

“We’re very, very proud of the faculty and the staff,” Hirshman said. “It all presents something really special to the students and, of course, we hope the students will take full advantage.”