Don Stacks, a professor of public relations and a leader in public relations research and education, received the 2014 PRIDE Contribution to Public Relations Education Award from the National Communication Association’s Public Relations Division last week. He was nominated for the lifetime achievement award by five of his doctoral students.

As they wrote in their nomination letter, “Few have done more to advance research as a major tenant of public relations education than Dr. Stacks. His Primer of Public Relations Research text, now in its 2nd edition, is considered the standard in public relations research education around the world. Moreover, he has (co-)authored and edited more than 30 books, most of which are being used as textbooks educating young public relations professionals around the world.”

Stacks, who was inducted into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame in 2012, chairs the Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation, which promotes the standards and best practices for research, measurement, and evaluation among both academics and professionals. He is also editor of Communication Research Reports and a research fellow at the Institute for Public Relations.

From 1996 until recently, he directed UM’s public relations program, helping move it from a relatively unknown program into the top tier at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He also initiated and continues to direct the first International Public Relations Research Conference, which, now in its 18th year, is the world’s largest non-academic research conference.

As attested by the current and former students who nominated Stacks for the PRIDE award, his third, he is also an unparalleled advisor and mentor.

“It is staggering how the efforts of one person can truly make a difference in shaping our understanding of the role of research in public relations discipline, especially among his many students who graduated to be leaders in the professional world,” Ph.D. candidate Zongchao Cathy Li wrote, along with Melissa Dodd, an assistant professor at the  University of Central Florida,
 Rita Linjuan Men, an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, and UM doctoral students Yi Grace Ji and Zifei (Fay) Chen.

This article was originally written for e-Veritas.