WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 19, 2010) — John W. “Jack” Felton, APR, Fellow PRSA, was awarded the Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize by the PRSA Foundation during the Tuesday general session at the PRSA 2010 International Conference in Washington, D.C. This award recognizes individual behavioral science researchers whose scholarly work enhances the understanding of the concepts and theories that contribute to the effectiveness of public relations practice.
“I'm surprised and greatly honored by this award,” said Felton. “Pat is an icon in our industry and to be merely associated with Pat's name is an honor. He was our greatest evangelist for excellence in public relations behavioral research. He believed with proper communications we could nudge the world to be a better place for all of us.”
Felton has been a key contributor to the public relations profession throughout his career. After serving as an information officer in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, he went on to lead communications efforts at Fortune 500 companies, such as U.S. Steel, Interstate Brands and McCormick Spice Company.
In 1995, Felton began a career in education at the University of Florida and helped to establish the Institute for Public Relations Research (IPR), an independent nonprofit that bridges the academic and professional fields, supporting public relations research and mainstreaming this knowledge into practice. He retired from teaching and as president and CEO of the Institute in 2004.
“The Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize is one of the most prestigious honors in public relations research,” said Debbie A. Mason, APR, Fellow PRSA, president of the PRSA Foundation Board of Trustees, and president of Strategists, Inc. “The PRSA Foundation is grateful to the firm for endowing and continuing to support this award. Support of research is one of the three major endeavors of the PRSA Foundation, and Pat Jackson and his colleagues have made significant and meaningful contributions to promoting the strategic value research as the core of effective public relations practice.”
A former PRSA president (1986-87), Felton was inducted into the College of Fellows in 1990 and won the Gold Anvil, the Society’s highest individual award, in 1992. He also won the 1999 PRSA Educators Academy David Ferguson Award for outstanding contributions to public relations education, the 1991 PR News “Outstanding Public Relations Professional of the Year,” and awards and honors from the Arthur W. Page Society and Institute for Public Relations.
Aside from his public relations work, Felton has written plays, edited books and composed songs. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.
“The selection Committee for the Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral prize made an inspired choice,” said Isobel Parke, APR, Fellow PRSA, senior counsel at Jackson Jackson & Wagner. “Throughout his career, Jack Felton has been an effective champion for research as the lifeblood of our profession. He has helped the profession take great strides in instilling a research-focused point of view for client and organizational public relations campaigns.”
About the PRSA Foundation
Founded in 1990, the PRSA Foundation is a philanthropic arm of the public relations profession, committed to the development of programs to advance public relations research, education and scholarships, while encouraging contributions from those who stand to benefit from its advancement.
About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
With more than 31,000 members, PRSA is the largest organization of public relations professionals and students. PRSA is comprised of 111 local Chapters organized into 10 geographic Districts; 16 Professional Interest Sections that focus on issues, trends and research relevant to specialized practice areas, such as technology, health care, financial communications, entertainment and sports, and travel tourism; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has more than 300 Chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. PRSA is headquartered in New York.