College of Fellows 101: Demystifying the Application

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It’s not that hard!

At the PRSA 2008 International Conference in Detroit, three PRSA College of Fellows members — Joan Capelin, APR, Fellow PRSA, Vivian Hamilton, APR, Fellow PRSA, and I — will be presenting a session to APRs and other interested folks about the ins and outs of preparing an application for the prestigious PRSA College of Fellows. The session is called “College of Fellows 101: Demystifying the Application.”  Here are a few thoughts:

• It’s not a clique, and it’s not an “automatic honor” for APRs who have more than 20 years in the business.
• It is an honor bestowed to the best practitioners based on a lifetime (at least 20 years of it) of commitment to the profession and superior performance as a practitioner.
     o Nineteen NEW College of Fellows members will be inducted into the College of Fellows in Detroit, bringing the number of COF members to nearly 470 — out of the nearly 22,600 PRSA professional members in the business.
     o That’s the “top 2%” of our profession who are members of PRSA.

• The College of Fellows is diverse.
     o Nearly 250 are agency practitioners.
     o Approximately 110 work for educational institutions, associations, government and health care.
     o About 55 work for corporations.
     o Twenty-five work within associations.
     o Approximately 35 are retired or semi-retired.

While the College of Fellows isn’t for everyone, everyone is welcome to consider applying. Criteria, do’s and don’ts, a list of members and lots of other helpful information can be found on the PRSA Web site under Leadership: Check it out — it’s not that hard!

Frederick C. Bagg, APR, Fellow PRSA, director, strategic planning, Saint Francis Hospitals & Health Centers, was elected to the PRSA College of Fellows in 2003 and is a former member of the College of Fellows Board of Directors. He is director of Strategic Planning and Market Research for St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served as the hospital’s director of Marketing and Community Relations for 26 years before moving to administration in 2005. A frequent speaker, Fred also teaches public relations and marketing at several Indianapolis area universities.

Joan Capelin, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, Capelin Communications, Inc., chaired the College of Fellows in 1999 and founded its enduring GoodFellows candidate-support squad. Joan builds and protects the reputation of professional service firms — especially those in the design, construction, and real estate industries, and the related associations and schools. President of Capelin Communications, she is also an author (latest: “Communication by Design,” 2004), columnist, and frequent speaker, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, Fellow of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, and recipient of the John W. Hill Award from PRSA New York. 

Vivian M. Hamilton, APR, Fellow PRSA, communications manager, Alaska Mental Health Trust. Hamilton has 26 years of experience as a public relations counselor, corporate executive and educator in Alaska. She is the communications manager for the Alaska Mental Health Trust, Alaska’s largest public foundation. She served as 2005 chair of the College of Fellows and is co-chair of the GoodFellows Committee.

Join Bagg, along with Vivian M. Hamilton, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Joan Capelin, APR, Fellow PRSA, for their co-presentation, College of Fellows 101: Demystifying the Application, at the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection, on Sunday, October 26, 2008, in Detroit, Michigan!

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Fred Bagg, APR, Fellow PRSA

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