Two of America’s preeminent experts in public relations are the centerpiece of the upcoming 2022 Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship event, presented by Ball State University’s School of Journalism and Strategic Communication 

One of those industry leaders—Dr. Bruce Berger, founding director and professor emeritus of the Plank Center—will be honored with the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication’s National Public Relations Achievement Award during the Schranz Lectureship event. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Karla Gower, director of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama 

This in-person event, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on March 30 at Ball State’s L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ball Room, is free of charge and open to the public. 

An author of two books, Dr. Berger has focused his research on public relations leadership, employee communications and public policy influence. Highlights of his career includes working as a public relations professional and executive for 20 years at companies such as Upjohn Company, and Whirlpool Corp. 

Dr. Gower has authored three books and co-authored another. She is the Behringer Distinguished Professor in the Advertising and Public Relations Department of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. She has served as director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations since 2008, when Dr. Berger retired. Other highlights of her career includes practicing law in Canada for eight years, and working in public relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona.

Founded in 1979, the Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations is the nation’s longest running public relations lectureship and has brought some of the most prominent public relations leaders to Ball State’s campus, including Betsy Plank—the Plank Center’s namesake—in 1997. Schranz speakers provide insight into public relations trends and create a forum for new ideas among Indiana’s public relations practitioners, faculty, and students. 

The Ball Corp., located at the time in Muncie, Indiana, home of Ball State University, started the series in honor of Vernon Schranz—the company’s first public relations officer, and an advocate for higher education.