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PR Students Austin Bound Thanks to Gift from Alumna

April 19, 2018

A $9,000 gift from advertising guru Sharon Napier ’81 will help St. John Fisher College students head to the Annual Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference in Austin, Texas this fall.

A $9,000 gift from advertising guru Sharon Napier ’81 will help St. John Fisher College students studying public relations attend an annual industry conference.

Members of the College’s Tom Proietti Chapter of PRSSA and Fisher’s student-run integrated advertising agency, The PRIMA Group, thought they were briefing Napier on their year-long activities when she surprised them with news of the gift.

Napier told the students that while she majored in sociology at Fisher, one class with resident scholar in media Tom Proietti, for whom the chapter is named, impacted her immensely. Today, Napier is the chief executive officer of Partners + Napier, a full-service marketing and advertising agency with offices in Rochester, New York City, and San Francisco.

“Fisher alumni help Fisher alumni and I am happy that I’m able to do this for you,” said Napier, who noted that real-world experience and knowledge of industry trends—both of which are benefits of attending conferences—are important advantages during the job search process.

The gift will fund travel to the conference in October 2018, as well as the 2019 conference. For student Alyssa Whitley, a media management major and incoming PRSSA president, the conference is an opportunity to learn about emerging trends and hone skills, then bring those ideas back to the chapter.

“One of the main benefits for attendees is the opportunity to network with other peers and industry experts,” she said. “Building relationships and gaining insight from these professionals that many of us aspire to be after graduation can lead to mentorships, internships, and job opportunities.”

Arien Rozelle, visiting assistant professor of media and communication and advisor to both groups, said the conference is the premiere gathering for students interested in the field of public relations and furthers students’ academic and professional development.

“Sharon’s gift is a testament to the strong ties that Fisher has with alumni and with local agencies, and it recognizes the hard work and great potential of students in The PRIMA Group and PRSSA, who deliver professional quality work to organizations in the Rochester community,” Rozelle said. “And, it will allow us to further grow the next generation of public relations practitioners in the Department of Media and Communication at St. John Fisher College.”