NEW YORK – September 27, 2021 — Page, the premiere global professional association for senior corporate communication executives, today announces that Dr. Rochelle Ford, dean and professor of the School of Communications at Elon University, will be the 2021 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. Award recipients have strengthened the role of corporate communications and public relations in business and society through service to the profession and others, writing, research and teaching. Ford will formally receive the honor at Page’s Annual Conference held September 26-28, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

“When it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion, Dr. Ford proves it with action,” said Shelley Spector, founder of the Museum of Public Relations and Ford’s nominator for the award. “She is a highly respected champion of diversity in education, community and industry, and a sought-after mentor to students and colleagues.”

As dean of Elon’s School of Communications, Ford oversees more than 80 full-time faculty and staff, six undergraduate majors and one master’s degree program. In 2019, Elon was named PRWeek's “Outstanding Education Program” during Dr. Ford’s first year as dean.

From 2014-2018, she served as a tenured professor and chair of the Public Relations Department in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, responsible for all public relations programs at PRWeek’s top-ranked institution – three consecutive years. Additionally, Ford served as a Provost Faculty Fellow at Syracuse, co-chairing its Middle States Accreditation process.

“Dr. Ford is tirelessly committed to our profession and to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry,” said Charlene Wheeless, chair of the Page Board of Trustees. “Her invaluable service to the profession throughout her prolific career makes her especially deserving of this honor.”

Before joining Syracuse, Ford was a faculty member and associate dean at Howard University for 16 years, mentoring African-American public relations professionals and championing the diversity agenda within the PR industry. She is a co-editor of a two-volume book series through IGI Global about the sustainability of historically Black colleges and universities and has received more than $2 million in grants. Off campus, Dr. Ford has managed public relations campaigns, events and programs for AARP, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Postal Service. Dr. Ford has served as a member of the PRSA Diversity Committee and was the recipient of the organization’s Outstanding Educator Award in 2019. In 2000, she was also inducted into the PRSSA National Hall of Fame. Additionally, she served as the program director for the PRSA Foundation, a nonprofit committed to enhancing diversity and inclusion. Dr. Ford was a part of the original charter group that collaborated to create the Diversity Action Alliance and is a signatory on behalf of Elon. Dr. Ford also oversees Page’s engagement with the DAA as co-chair of the Page DEI Advisory Board.