45th Anniversary


This year, the Volunteer Chapter turns 45!

We’re celebrating in style, with new professional development, networking and fun events — culminating with (of course) a birthday party on October 30.

But it’s not a party without someone to celebrate with … so we’re pulling out all the stops to host a day-long mini conference on the 30th, and a birthday party networking the night before. We don’t want to spoil any surprises, but you can expect big-name speakers on relevant topics. Plus, the event will include special honors for PR excellence through our expanded, improved V Awards.

Stay tuned for more details, including conference speakers and updated, simplified V Awards entry categories that reflect the work you do.

In the meantime, read a little about our history and mark your calendars to celebrate with us throughout the year!


Volunteer Chapter History

The Volunteer Chapter was founded on October 30, 1973. We were chartered in partnership with the Sammie Lynn Puett Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at the University of Tennessee.

Our Chapter has long been considered one of the strongest in the Southeast District and in the national organization, even being recognized with the prestigious Chapter Banner Award and Silver Gavel Award, for a chapter with exceptional performance and strong PR programming.

In 1977, the Volunteer Chapter hosted what may have been one of the first Southeast District Conferences ever — themed “America Looks South: Your Role as a PR Professional” — and hosted again in 2016 on the theme “The Personal Side of PR.” Over the years, we have brought in amazing speakers from across the nation for our events, from places like Baylor University, Monsanto, Burson-Marsteller, Scripps Networks and more.

Our charter members were Tom Ballard, Jeff Beckleman, Betty Bell, Ted Brosseau, Dozier Cade, Charles Callis, Harvey Cobert, Dan Coleman, Larre DeWine, Ashleigh Groce, Rod Irvin, Jackie Kersh, Hugh McDade, Tom Minter, Mark O’Neill, Ken Powers, Sammie Lynn Puett, Guy Smith IV, Ray Stahl, Clyde Ussery and Noreen Wray.