Champions for PRSSA: Supporting the Future of the Profession

Founded in 1981 by Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA, the Champions for PRSSA, formerly called Friends of PRSSA, bring together those who have special, ongoing interest in PRSSA, its student members and public relations education.


Champions Chapter Challenge

With another collegiate school year underway, Champions for PRSSA has launched its annual member recruitment challenge for PRSA members nationwide.  The CHAMPIONS CHAPTER CHALLENGE will provide one free PRSA Associate Membership to chapters for every five Champions they recruit. To join Champions for PRSSA, contact and register before December 2011.

Who Are the Champions?

Members of the Champions for PRSSA, all honored in the Champions Directory, include practitioners, educators, companies, agencies, PRSA Chapters and other organizations. Individuals who are not PRSA members are also welcome. The organization is co-chaired by Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR; Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA; Kevin Saghy, PRSSA past president; and Mary Beth West, APR.

The Work of the Champions

The Champions sponsor several award programs that honor exceptional Chapters, Advisers and students.

  • Teahan Awards – This program provides approximately $4,500 in awards to PRSSA Chapters for a variety of programs (newsletters, service initiatives, etc.), and to excellent Chapter Advisers and PRSA sponsor Chapters.
  • Altschul Outstanding Internship Award – A student who has completed an outstanding internship receives $300 and the internship provider receives national recognition.
  • Encourage Membership – Champions strongly encourage graduating PRSSA members to become PRSA Associate Members and co-sponsor, with PRSA, the first two years of professional membership for past members of the PRSSA National Committee.
  • Mentors and Speakers – Champions often serve as speakers for various National- and Chapter-level student events. PRSSA Chapters are also invited to contact Champions for mentoring and counsel.

Benefits of Being a Champion

The greatest benefit of being a Champion is knowing you have helped support students, Chapters and advisers that are striving for excellence; however, Champions also receive the following benefits:

  • Champions Newsletters – Sent from the co-chairs, the newsletters provide you news about Champion and PRSSA accomplishments.
  • FORUM® – PRSSA’s national newspaper, mailed three times during the school year.
  • Conference Reception – At the PRSA International Conference, Champions are invited to meet with PRSSA leadership.

In addition, Champions benefit from the outstanding students who will soon become their PRSA colleagues. Demonstrating the student Society’s leadership promise are PRSSA alumni who now serve on the PRSA Board of Directorsnational committeesand as PRSA Chapter officers.

Become a Champion

PRSA Suburban Chicago President Debra Bethard-Caplick, MBA, APR, has been a Champion of PRSSA for several years. Influenced by meeting Betsy Plank at her first PRSSA Conference as an undergrad PR student at Illinois State University, Debra has donated to the program and attended Champion’s events at the International Conference to answer career development questions from PRSSA members.  “Betsy spent a large amount of time with the students, and never treated us as anything other than professional colleagues. She inspired us all, and I try to pass that inspiration she gave us on to other students. I encourage everyone to become a Champion and support the future of our profession.”

Champions pay an annual membership fee of $50 (tax deductible) that matches PRSSA dues. To join, download the enrollment form (Word or PDF) and send payment to PRSSA Headquarters.

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