The Ellis N. Brandt lecture was held Oct. 28 of this year but has also been held three times in the past. It is a trend that lecture founder Chuck Salmon wishes to continue. Salmon, an adjunct professor in Michigan State’s Communication department, created the lecture in 2007 with financial assistance from the Gerstacker Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has also donated money to MSU in the past.
The lecture was named after a 1943 MSU graduate in Journalism who now serves as the vice president of the Gerstacker Foundation. Brandt was also the only American to be decorated by the French for public relations in World War II.
The goal of the lecture was to explore the relationship between public relations and the public interest, according to Salmon. He said that people might not be sure what that relation is, and public relations is not for or against public interest, it’s just how it’s used and practiced.
Salmon chooses the speakers based on their research and goals. In the past three years there has been Rhoda Weiss, the vice president of Public Relations Society of America. Michael Pertschuk, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and founder of the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. also spoke twice in the last two years.
It all led up to this year’s speaker, Thomas Jacobson, an interim dean and professor in the School of Communication and Theater at Temple University. Salmon said he chose Jacobson because he represents a “different perspective, more of a critical or cultural perspective.” Jacobson spoke to an audience of around 100 in the Communication Arts and Sciences building about communication symmetry its importance for successful communication symmetry.