College of Communication to Honor Harold Burson

Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 |

(Boston) – Harold Burson, one of the world’s most successful public relations practitioners, will be honored Friday, February 18 when Boston University’s College of Communication (COM) helps him celebrate his 90th birthday with a symposium beginning at 1 p.m. in the Colloquium Room of the Photonics Center (8 St. Mary’s Street, Boston). The event is free and open to the public.

Burson co-founded Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest public relations agencies, with Bill Marsteller in 1953 and has been credited with introducing integrated communication marketing to public relations practice. Throughout his career, Burson has supported public relations research and education, developing training programs and mentoring young professionals. His company has a long history of collaboration with BU and has hired many Boston University COM graduates.

In 2000, PR Week named Burson as “the century’s most influential PR figure” in recognition of a culmination of more than 50 years of service as a counselor to and confidante of corporate CEOs, government leaders and heads of public sector institutions.

Although Burson never attended BU, he has been a significant supporter of public relations education within COM for several decades and received an honorary degree from the University in 1988. He also is responsible for funding the Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations in COM.

The highlight of BU’s birthday celebration will consist of a speech by Burson. Prior to the speech, Burson will be recognized and honored through remarks by students, alumni and faculty of COM.

The students will be represented by Mary Kate Joyce a senior from Pittsburgh, PA, majoring in public relations. She is the President of BU’s Edward L. Bernays Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

Alumni will be represented by Sarah D’Souza, Vice President of Edelman, a worldwide public relations firm headquartered in New York.

The faculty representative is Dr. Otto Lerbinger, Professor Emeritus of Public Relations at BU, and the first recipient of the Burson Professorship.

Other speakers include Rob Flaherty, President and Senior Partner with Ketchum and Dr. Stephen Greyser, Richard Chapman Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.