On October 22, School of Communication and Media Public Relations Professor Larry Weiner was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) College of Fellows in a special ceremony at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. Weiner joins 22 other professionals who received the honor, with the members of the 2016 class bringing the total number of Fellows nationwide to just over 350.
The College of Fellows is an honorary organization within PRSA comprised of senior practitioners and educators who have left a significant footprint on the public relations profession. Created in 1989 as part of a PRSA initiative focused on the future of public relations, election to the College is considered the pinnacle of a professional’s career.
“I never thought that when I began my public relations career in the early 1980s, doing pro bono work for United Cerebral Palsy, that my career path would ultimately lead me to induction in the PRSA Fellows. It was always one step, one client at a time,” says Weiner.
To be considered for induction, professionals must possess a minimum of 20 years of public relations experience, an Accreditation in Public Relations certification, demonstrated superior professional capability in the practice/teaching of public relations, performed work that advanced the profession and served as a role model in the profession and the community.
During his time at Montclair State University, Weiner has developed a number of projects and partnerships, including publicizing Hall of Fame LPGA golfer Lorena Ochoa, two Andy Kaufman Comedy Awards, and ongoing projects for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, New Jersey Advertising Club and Hackensack University Medical Center’s John Theurer Cancer Center.
As the faculty adviser to the school’s Public Relations Student Society of America, Weiner has established a highly successful and visible annual fundraising benefit for Autism New Jersey, in which he has brought in such stars as Moira Kelly, Laura Benanti, Stephanie J. Block and the Four Seasons’ Don Ciccone. He has also served as a mentor to the University’s students within the School of Communication and Media providing academic and professional advising, and teaches advanced courses in public relations at the institution.
“Professor Weiner has had a profound impact on me and on the students within our program,” says Jessica Ortega, a junior communication studies major with a concentration in public relations. “His advice has allowed me to pursue internships and professional opportunities that I may not have been able to achieve otherwise, and his teachings have given me the knowledge I will need to make an impact in the field. He has made himself so available to students of all majors, and I know we are all so grateful for all that he does.”
Weiner began his public relations career in 1981, working for companies including PepsiCo, Sharp Electronics, Johnson & Johnson, Fujifilm and BMW North America. He has also written, directed and produced a series of original audio dramas which have been broadcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, directing such stars as Tony Award-winners Kelli O’Hara and Barbara Harris, Academy Award-winner Shirley Jones, and Emmy-winner Ed Asner. His work has garnered four Jersey Awards and a Helen Hayes Award for set design work, in addition to three awards for his audio work.
“I consider what I do in front of a classroom simply a continuation of my public relations career,” says Weiner. “The first part of my career was learning my craft; the second part is now giving all those years of acquiring the knowledge, experience and wisdom back to my students.”