Public Relations Student Society of America exists to prepare public relations students for their professional careers by creating a link between students and professionals. On November 11, 1967, Public Relations Society of America voted unanimously to create the first PRSSA chapter. PRSA wanted to create an organized and structured club for students that would strive to reach and exceed professional standards.
The Washington State University chapter is named after Jay Rockey, a leader in public relations. Rockey served as the PR and marketing director for the 1962 Seattle World Fair and later formed his own public relations firm, Jay Rockey Public Relations. Hill & Knowlton, a PR firm, bought Jay Rockey Public Relations in 2000, and the Pacific Northwest division is now known as Rockey Hill & Knowlton with a regional office in Spokane, Wash. The Puget Sound Chapter of PRSA named its lifetime achievement award after the renowned professional. For more information on this award, visit PRSA Puget Sound.
About Jay Rockey
By Katie Small
The Washington State University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter is named after 45-year Northwest public relations leader Jay Rockey. Rockey, a 1950 graduate of the Department of Speech Communication at Washington State University, began his career serving as public relations and advertising director for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. After the success of the World’s Fair, Rockey opened the doors to his own Seattle firm Jay Rockey Public Relations, later named The Rockey Company.
Rockey later expanded his firm into a regional leader, adding offices in Portland, Ore. and Spokane, Wash. Over the years the firm grew, serving local, national and global clients. In 2000, public relations firm Hill and Knowlton acquired Rockey’s regional firm. The Northwest division is now known as Rockey Hill and Knowlton.
WSU PRSSA chapter’s name-sake Jay Rockey has had a profound impact on Northwest public relations. He continues to be an inspiration for many WSU students and faculty. “When I was a new faculty member, I quickly learned I could look to Jay Rockey as a role model for my students,” said Erica Austin, professor and interim director of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. “He has been such a trailblazer for the practice of public relations in the Northwest, leading with high expectations, kindness and patience. We are very proud that he is a Cougar!”
In 2002, the Puget Sound Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) established the Jay Rockey Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his commitment to the profession. Rockey served as president of the national PRSA chapter in 1976 and continues to serve as a member of the WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication Advisory Board.
“Jay has been a great friend to the Murrow College of Communication and to Washington State University,” said Communication Professor Bruce Pinkleton. “He has built a stellar reputation for both excellence and ethics, and it’s an honor for our Public Relations Student Society of America chapter to bear his name.”