Past Presidents

1968 Paul E. Smith
1969 A. Courtenay Carson
1970 Frank L. Barton
1971 Marshall Doswell Jr.
1972 Robert Isbell
1973 Van T. Newman Jr.
1974 Robert L. Thompson Jr., APR
1975 Dr. Joseph T. Nolan, APR
1976 Eric W. Williams
1977 Edward Haws Jr., APR
1978 Henry W. Cheney, APR
1979 John C. Cone
1980 Keith Thomason, APR
1981 Lois Duke, APR
1982 John  Milkereit, APR
1983 Kitty Carson, APR
1984 W. Lee Bussell, APR
1985 Dianne Berry, APR
1986 Mary Eaddy, APR
1987 Joe Jones, APR
1988 Chuck Luce, APR
1989 Tootsie Kline, APR
1990 Sharmin Barnes Hill, APR
1991 Michael Dey, APR and Tracy Whited, APR
1992 Tracy Whited, APR
1993 Beth Fondren, APR
1994 Marcia Purday, APR
1995 Mary Caldwell, APR
1996 Jack Claypoole, APR
1997 George Johnson, APR, Fellow PRSA
1998 Padgett Nichols, APR
1999 Debbie Cribb, APR
2000 Mary Brantner, APR
2001 Tara Bianco, APR
2002 Kelly Jackson Davis, APR
2003 Jo Halmes, APR
2004 Jim Roth
2005 Tom Duke, APR, Fellow PRSA
2006 Angel Passailaigue Postell, APR
2007 Stephanie Jones
2008 Reed Byrum, APR, Fellow PRSA
2009 Brett Turner, APR
2010 Allison Skipper, APR
2011 Penny Cothran, APR
2012 Alice Grey Harrison, APR
2013 Erin Watson, APR
2014 Chris Duncan
2015 Karen Potter, APR
2016 Ashley Dusenbury, APR
2017 Kelly Jackson Davis, APR
2018 Reba Campbell
2019 Kimberly Keelor, APR
2020 Angela English, APR

Key Milestones

  • January 1966 — The “PR 16,” a local group of about 16 professionals primarily in the textile industry, begins meeting in Greenville. Similar gatherings spin off in Columbia and Charleston.

  • Sept. 21, 1967 — The South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is established and granted a charter. Paul Smith of Liberty Life Insurance is elected president.

  • Feb. 6, 1968 — The charter is formally presented at a banquet at the Capital Cabana Hotel in Columbia with about 80 attendees. The chapter begins to meet quarterly.

  • Mid 1970s — Membership grows from about 20 to 50 in the first 10 years and shifts from predominantly textile companies to banks, higher education, nonprofit and advertising/PR agencies.

  • 1975 — The chapter serves as co-host with the University of South Carolina’s PRSSA chapter for the Southeastern District Conference in Columbia attended by 150 professionals and students. Nationally syndicated columnist David Broder is the keynote speaker.

  • 1976 — The chapter receives a national Chapter Banner Award for its accomplishments.

  • Early 1980s — A Charleston satellite group begins meeting as the chapter works to engage practitioners around the state. A “Practical PR” annual seminar series, sponsored with the Charlotte and North Carolina chapters, becomes popular.

  • 1981 — Early efforts toward establishing an awards program are made by co-sponsoring a competition with the North Carolina chapter. Lois L. Duke, APR, is elected in 1981 as the chapter’s first female president and is also the first woman in the state to receive accreditation.

  • 1982 — Regional representation of the state is established for the board of directors to underline the chapter’s commitment to reaching practitioners statewide.

  • 1983 — The chapter hosts PRSA’s Southeastern District Conference in Charleston, with more than 100 attendees and Judith Bogart, national PRSA president, as a guest speaker. The chapter receives a PRSA Chapter Banner Award from the district.

  • 1980s — The chapter begins to hold an intensive two-day “summer seminar” workshop devoted to a special professional topic with nationally recognized speakers. Member grows to 80+. About 25% of the membership hold APR accreditation.

  • 1990 — Members top 100 for the first time and reach 109 by year end. Meeting attendance averages 50 in Columbia and 25-35 in Charleston. The Upstate establishes a satellite serving Greenville, Spartanburg and Asheville. The chapter wins Banner Award district honors.

  • 1991 — The chapter sponsors its first Mercury Awards competition.

  • 1992 — The chapter celebrates its 25th Its first-ever scholarship, the Past President’s Scholarship, is awarded to a UofSC PRSSA member. The chapter again wins the district Chapter Banner competition.

  • 1995 — The chapter co-sponsors a Pro-Am week with PRSSA, pairing students with members for an intensive and competitive one-week internship.

  • 1996 — The chapter begins its first strategic planning process to create a three-year plan, now a standard practice.

  • 1990s — The chapter reaches record membership of nearly 200, with a majority of new members from outside the Midlands. An endowed SCPRSA scholarship is created through the UofSC Educational Foundation. A website is created.

  • 1999 — The chapter hires a professional association management company to help with membership, finances and general administration, enhancing service to members. The chapter receives the Overall Best Chapter Excellence Award for Chapter Leadership.

  • 2002 — Karla Falk is hired as the first chapter administrator.

  • November 2007 — The chapter celebrates its 40th anniversary with an oyster roast at the fall professional development conference.

  • 2008 — A PRSSA chapter forms at Clemson University.

  • 2015 — The chapter hosts a PRSA Southeast District Conference in Greenville, attended by nearly 150 PR practitioners from across the Southeast. Kathy Barber, national PRSA president, spoke at the event, which also included a special focus on accreditation in public relations.