BOSTON—Boston University has named Donald Wright as the Harold Burson professor and chair in public relations. The appointment is effective for five years beginning September 1, 2010.
Established in honor of Harold Burson, founder and chairman of Burson-Marsteller, the endowment that established the professorship and chair was funded by Burson-Marsteller, its employees and clients, and by Young & Rubicam, Burson-Marsteller’s former parent company.
According to T. Barton Carter, Chair of the Department of Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations, the decision to have the Burson chair and professorship at BU reflects the fact that “BU is home to the world's oldest university degree in public relations—the Master of Public Relations degree—that has been offered continuously since 1947.”
Wright, who is in his fifth year as Professor of Public Relations, is one of the world’s most published public relations scholars, with work that focuses upon communication ethics, employee communication and social media. In addition to teaching, conducting scholarly and applied research, and lecturing in more than 30 countries on five continents, Wright has worked full-time in corporate, agency and university public relations, and has been a communications consultant for three decades. Prior to moving to BU, Wright held faculty appointments at the Universities of Texas (at Austin), Georgia and South Alabama.
Wright is the third BU faculty member to hold the Burson professorship and chair. The inaugural recipient was Otto Lerbinger, who taught public relations courses at BU for 50 years prior to his retirement in 2004 and held the Burson professorship and chair in 2003 and 2004. Chris Komisarjevsky, a former CEO of Burson-Marsteller, served in the position during the 2005-06 academic year.