Mary Beth West, APR, principal, Mary Beth West Consulting, LLC., was selected as the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) 2010 David Ferguson Award, which was presented at the PRSA Educators Academy reception held during the PRSA 2010 International Conference in Washington, D.C. The David Ferguson Award recognizes outstanding contributions to public relations education by a practitioner. West is a 1994 graduate of the College of Communication and Information and a member of its Board of Visitors.
“Public relations generates success for businesses and organizations throughout our society, and PRSA’s Educators Academy contributes to the profession’s greatest potential by driving academic research, professional standards and the qualifications of future professionals,” said West in accepting the award. “It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by these educators whose work I value and respect.”
West’s 16-year career in public relations includes a range of posts in the agency, corporate and banking sectors. For seven years, she has managed a public relations consulting firm in Maryville, Tenn.
“We are very proud of Mary Beth West’s accomplishments and congratulate her on receiving the David Ferguson Award,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “This award is a testament to her dedicated service to public relations education and the PR profession.”
West’s involvement with PRSA and its student organization, PRSSA, has extended over two decades. She served as national public relations director for PRSSA while a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was honored as the public relations student of the year in 1994, and received the UT Chancellor’s Citation for Leadership and Service.
West’s firm has sponsored more than $25,000 in local and national scholarships and academic program support, student attendance to PRSSA’s National Conferences and more than a dozen paid internships for PRSSA students. A career-long member of the Champions for PRSSA and a contributor to the Betsy Plank Endowment, West was the founding donor of the Travis Parman Public Relations Scholarship and the Dwayne Summar Essay Contest at the University of Tennessee, in honor of two close friends and mentors in the profession who are alumni of UT.