Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has announced the creation of the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Chair in Public Affairs Communications.
The announcement was part of a luncheon to honor retiring Grady Dean E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark and was made before board members, faculty, staff, students, university representatives and friends gathered on the Grady College lawn. Tieger praised Clark for his leadership during the past seven years and recognized his role in inspiring her to make the gift.
The Carolyn Caudell Tieger Chair will begin as the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professorship, funded by a gift made by Tieger in December 2012 and will continue with an annual pledge to reach the $250,000 endowment threshold for a professorship. When combined with a commitment from her estate, the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Chair endowment will reach or exceed $1 million.
The Tieger Professorship and Chair will be the first of its kind within a college of journalism and mass communication. Its purpose is to prepare students to lead and compete effectively in the world of policy, politics and advocacy communication.
Clark commended Tieger for her vision and the generosity of her major gift commitment that will create an education and career track for students and position the college as a premier institution for students who aim to become leading public affairs professionals.
“Carolyn’s vision is born of her 40-year career in Washington’s highest echelons of influence and her continuing work today as a public affairs consultant of the first rank,” Clark said. “From her student days, Carolyn blazed her own trail as a public affairs leader and asked in many wonderful conversations that began this gift, ‘What if we could help students get ahead by creating a program that gave them a leg up in public affairs communications?’
“Grady students and faculty for generations to come will benefit from what Carolyn has boldly envisioned and accomplished.”
UGA Provost and President-elect Jere Morehead expressed appreciation on behalf of the university in comments to Tieger and her family, represented at the announcement by her father P.G. Caudell, sister and UGA graduate Kathy Cobb and nephew Cameron Whitlock, a Grady public relations alumnus.
Tieger said her vision for the chair and its focus grew from her desire to use her experiences to help students get ahead on a professional track she had to forge herself with on the job training.
“How much further ahead will they be if as students they learn what public affairs communications is and the role it plays in government, political behavior and policy-if they learn how government works, and why communications disciplines of public relations and public affairs journalism are central to it?” she asked.
The Tieger Professorship and eventual Chair will provide leadership for a cohort of approximately 100 students enrolled in dual degrees in the Grady College and the School of Public and International Affairs.
Whitney Wyszinski, Grady and SPIA dual degree student, thanked Tieger for establishing a program that addresses an unmet need for students with political ambitions. “I was putting it together myself, and this is exactly what I want my education at Grady and SPIA to prepare me to do-to work in public affairs and political communication,” Wyszinski said.
A Washington communications veteran based now in Naples, Fla., Tieger is a public affairs strategists specializing in legislative issues, corporate and industry crises, litigation and reputation management. Her career spans the U.S. Congress, the White House, two international PR firms and her own company. As a partner and managing director of Porter Novelli’s Washington office, she welcomed classes of Grady students to the firm on their annual PRSSA trip to the nation’s capitol.
Named PR News Public Affairs Executive of the Year in 2006 and Washington PR Woman of the Year by Washington Women in PR in 2005, Tieger is also a member of the inaugural Grady Fellowship and was awarded the college’s John Holliman Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008.
A 1969 graduate of Grady, Tieger also has been appointed to serve on the Grady Board of Trust.
Tieger will serve with Clark and Parker Middleton on an inaugural advisory board for Grady’s public affairs communications program. As the professorship is funded, the board will plan lectures, outreach and other programs for students to connect them to public affairs communications professionals and opportunities.
“My dream is that Grady and UGA might be a site of the next Presidential debates,” Tieger said. “I am humbled and honored that from my parents’ sacrifices that allowed me to graduate from Grady and go on to a wonderful career in D.C., I can help students with their ambitions today.
“I am proud to be part of what Grady College is doing for democracy’s next generation.”
UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.