Dukes, whose remarkable career ended with his death on Dec. 7, was known for his dedication to mentoring students
NEW YORK (Dec. 9, 2011)
— The PRSA Foundation
today announced the creation of the Ofield Dukes
Scholarship for Excellence in Public Relations. The 79-year-old Dukes, who died Dec. 7, was an honorary trustee of the Foundation and a widely recognized leader in the public relations profession.
“Ofield Dukes’ career achievements have been widely chronicled, and he’s recognized as one of the giants of our profession,” said PRSA Foundation President Debbie Mason, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Those of us who were privileged to work with him through the years knew him as a champion to literally thousands of students and professionals, who turned to him for counsel and inspiration. His work toward making our profession as diverse as the world we serve was unparalleled.”
The scholarship fund will be established by a major gift from the PRSA Foundation and a matching gift from Prudential Financial, which will be the founding donor.
“This scholarship will be a legacy to him, reflecting his values for excellence in the ethical practice of public relations,” said Mason. “And as an endowed fund, it will carry his name in perpetuity, a fitting tribute to his lifelong commitment to helping others.”
Prudential’s chief communications officer and PRSA Foundation Board Member Bob DeFillippo adds that, “We are honored to make this pledge to acknowledge the many contributions Ofield Dukes made to our profession. He enriched the lives of so many people, including members of the Prudential Global Communications team.”
Commenting on the scholarship’s creation, Dukes’ daughter, Roxi Victorian, said, “Education and the well-being of young people were so important to my dad, and any way his legacy can live on through his passion for the education of young people is welcomed."
A Public Relations Legend
Dukes founded Ofield Dukes and Associates
42 years ago, specializing in minority affairs, particularly African-American, African and political affairs. He helped organize the first Congressional Black Caucus dinner, and played a key role in planning the march on Washington that helped to establish Martin Luther’s King’s birthday as a national holiday. He served on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change. His firm counseled American presidents and political leaders; major corporations, such as Lever Brothers and AT&T; and entertainment legends, including Steve Wonder and Alex Haley.
In 1993, Dukes founded the Black Public Relations Society of Washington
. He was named one of the “top public relations persuaders” in Washington by The Washington Post
, and was the first African American to receive the Public Relations Society of America
(PRSA)’s Gold Anvil award in 2001, the highest individual honor in the public relations profession. In 2003, he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award for Community Service, and in 2005 was named one of five “Communicators Who Awed” by PRWeek
About the PRSA Foundation
The PRSA Foundation is an independent, 50l (c) 3 charitable foundation which enhances the role of the public relations industry in serving the public good, by raising funds to support scholarships for public relations students, research projects that impact the practice of public relations, and public education initiatives that build greater awareness among business and government leaders about the role of public relations in serving the public good.