Bryan Reber retires from Department of Advertising and Public Relations

Known for his unflappable personality, crisis communication acumen and commitment to helping students, Bryan Reber retires as head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations effective Aug. 1, 2022.

Charles Davis and Bryan Reber pose for a picture
Charles Davis and Bryan Reber in April 2022.

“Bryan Reber possesses all the qualities that make a great department chair: he’s reasonable, flexible, embraces ambiguity and works for the greater good,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “But, he’s also one of the most innately likable colleagues, an encouraging voice in the room and a rare leader who always, always tries to get to ‘yes.’”

Reber has served as head of the department or assistant head for the past 12 years, helping to  lead many growth initiatives including the development of the Crisis Communication Think Tank, Crisis Communication Coalition, AdPR Executive Advisory Board, AdPR Academy, 4+1+1 program, Talking Dog, certificate programs like the Strategic Health and Risk Communication, and several labs including the Brain, Body and Media (BBAM), SEE Suite, Virtual Environments Room and Gaming Experience (VERGE) and Games and Virtual Environments Lab (GAVEL).

Reber has long been a prolific researcher, including several years as a co-author of the North American Communication Monitor sponsored by The Plank Center, and has helped lead the department during a time when it was recognized as the top US institution in AdPR research productivity.

He has a national reputation for his expertise in crisis communication and was named the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership in 2014. Through this role, he was frequently quoted in national media covering corporate crisis and he initiated the Crisis Communication Think Tank, bringing together industry professionals and scholars to collaborate on crisis issues.

Dick Yarbrough talks into a microphone as Bryan Reber looks on.
Dick Yarbrough speaks at the Sports Media Consortium, “Atlanta, 20 Years Later: Lessons in Sports Media from the Last American Summer Olympic Games,” in 2014 as Bryan Reber looks on.

“I had great expectations for the professorship at its inception,” said Dick Yarbrough (ABJ ’59), “and, Bryan Reber exceeded them. Thanks to his efforts, Grady College is turning out a new generation of relevant crisis communications professionals while making Grady a respected leader in the field with practitioners across the globe.  I could not be more pleased or proud.”

Karen King, professor emeritus who retired in 2020, worked alongside Reber since he came to Grady College in 2004 from the University of Alabama.

“Bryan has contributed to the department in so many ways,” King noted. “He understands the importance of

Three faculty members and one alumnus pose for a picture in a grove of trees in Cannes, France.
Joe Phua, Jason Kreher (ABJ ’00), Karen King and Bryan Reber outside the Cannes Lions Festival, one of the special study away opportunities AdPR offers for its students in the summer. (Photo: courtesy of Karen King)

culture in an academic department and was generous with his time, talent, support, and even his personal funds. This allowed the department to continue to have a pleasant environment for faculty, students, and alums alike.”

Reber is the author of several books, including the text book, “Gaining Influence in Public Relations: The Role of Resistance in Practice” which he co-authored with Bruce K. Berger, and his most recent book, “Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness,” which he co-edited with Glen Nowak and Yan Jin of the Grady faculty.

In all that he has accomplished in shaping the department, building bridges through partnerships, raising money to benefit student experiences and contributing to the betterment of the industry through his work on boards like the Plank Center or induction into industry leadership organizations like the Arthur Page Society, Reber’s key motivator is guiding his students to productive, impactful careers. Whether he is working with undergraduate students serving as Yarbrough Crisis Communication Fellows or graduate students whose goals are to teach, he is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of professionals.

Nicholas Browning (MA ’10, PhD ’15) worked closely with Reber who served as his committee chair for his master’s thesis and later for his doctoral dissertation.

Nicholas Browning and Bryan Reber after Browning's graduation in 2010
Bryan Reber (right) served on Nicholas Brownings master’s thesis committee and as his dissertation chair. This picture was taken following Browning’s master’s degree graduation in 2010. “He gave students the opportunity—or perhaps “forced students” is the better phrasing—to forge their own paths, to articulate their own visions, and to grow into their own unique careers,” Browning said of Reber. (Photo: courtesy of Nick Browning)

“Bryan is a brilliant scholar and prolific in virtually every facet of academia: research, teaching, service, whatever—he does it all, and he does it all well,” Browning said. “I owe Bryan Reber a lot, and though I can never repay it, I try to pay it forward in the mentorship role I now find myself in. I consider myself fortunate to have been his student, privileged to be his colleague, and honored to be his friend.”

Isn’t that the most any professor can hope for?

Reber plans to enjoy time vacationing with his wife, Sharon, and gardening in his retirement.

Juan Meng assumes the role as AdPR department head effective Aug. 1.

Kreshel, Lee and Middleton retire

Decades of groundbreaking thought and research, student impact and strategic programming are the legacies of Peggy Kreshel, William E. Lee and Parker Middleton who retire effective Dec. 31, 2020.

“Peggy, Bill and Parker have all made incredible contributions to our college and beyond during the past several decades and they will be greatly missed in our halls,” Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College, said. “Their scholarly knowledge and inspiring ideas leave an impressive legacy.”

Several staff members retired in 2020, as well, including Cletus Stripling who directed IT operations for Grady College and Terri Baker, who served in the Grady College Business Office for nearly 22 years.

“Cletus and Terri are prime examples of the tireless contributions many of our staff members make,” Davis continued. We are grateful for their dedication and friendship to our college.”

Peggy Kreshel

Peggy Kreshel talks with a student over lunch in 2014. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Peggy Kreshel joined the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in 1986 and has taught hundreds of students about media history, ethics, gender issues and women’s studies and culture.  She has written numerous book chapters and journal articles, and recently co-edited the book, “Feminists, Feminisms, and Advertising: Some Restrictions Apply.” She also co-authored several editions of “Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning.”

“Peggy has inspired so many minds,” said former student Beth Avery Foster (ABJ ’01, PhD ’06), who currently serves as professor and director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee. “She asked us to think critically and use our heads but also our hearts, which I am so grateful for.”

Peggy Kreshel (far left) receives a service award with other Grady faculty in 2014. Other faculty pictured are Scott Shamp, Elli Roushanzamir, Barry Hollander, Karen Russell, Lynn Sallot and Karen King. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Throughout the years, Kreshel has served on the graduate faculty and has been recognized with the Richard B. Russell Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, as a University of Georgia Senior Teaching Fellow and as an inductee in UGA’s Teaching Academy.

“Peggy has been a constant presence at Grady,” Davis continued. “She is a wonderful friend and colleague to so many.”

Kreshel, who is an avid cyclist, is known around the halls of Grady for singing her sultry renditions of Happy Birthday to faculty and staff and for her fondness of glitter.



William “Bill” Lee

Bill Lee in an undated picture (ca: 1982).

Bill Lee has taught thousands of Grady College students. That’s no exaggeration since he has taught at Grady for 42 years.

Lee teaches Communication Law and despite the intimidating subject, Lee made it accessible to students and is frequently cited by alumni as one of the most valuable classes because so many concepts are used after graduation.

“The skills he taught me in that class have led me to a successful career,” said Chip Caray (ABJ ’87), Atlanta Braves play-by-play announcer and a former student of Lee. “He was firm, but fair. He taught us most importantly the impact of words and that words mean things. If you don’t use words carefully, you can wind up in an awfully lot of trouble.”

Lee, together, with Kent Middleton, professor emeritus, authored one of the leading communication law texts, “The Law of Public Communication.”

Kent Middleton and Bill Lee celebrate the 10th edition of their text book, “The Law of Public Communication” in 2017.
(Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

“For me, as for generations of students, Bill Lee rocks,” Kent Middleton said of his co-author. “I wish I had a dollar for every time a Grady alum has told me our textbook was “surprisingly interesting,” and the law class was the best class they took at Grady.  Then, invariably, they added, “Professor Lee was the best teacher I had at Grady.”  Bill is also the best  colleague and co-author.

Lee has written numerous articles about Supreme Court decisions that have been published in top journals including “Supreme Court Review” and recently in “Harvard Journal of Public Law and Policy.”

During his tenure, Lee has received numerous teaching awards including the Lothar Tresp Outstanding Honors Professor by the UGA Honors Program in 2018. He served for ten years as a Senior Faculty Fellow of the Foundation Fellows Program, UGA’s most prestigious fellowship program.


Parker Middleton

Parker Middleton celebrates Homecoming.

Parker Middleton is stepping down from her post as Grady’s Executive Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement after more than two decades of service in administrative leadership and teaching roles at UGA and Grady College.

“Parker’s creativity, impact and legacy will be lasting, from programs she has built, to students she has inspired and the sense of opportunity she instills,” Davis said. “Parker’s contributions to our mission are unique. We are inspired by her talents as a producer in projects like our Grady galas, the ‘GRADY GREATS’ programs at ABC and the ‘Driven by Purpose’ series that streamed remarkable conversations with Grady grads students and other leaders.”

Middleton’s service to Grady has included directing the college’s undergraduate advising and admissions programs and building its development and engagement programs.  Middleton was named to her current role, which includes planning, strategy and engagement, in 2017.  She serves also as an adjunct faculty member, co-teaching JRLC 1001, which she and Davis designed.

Charles Davis and Parker Middleton co-created and taught a career explorations class together, introducing underclassman to the industries served by the college as in this picture from 2019. (Photo: Dayne Young)

“Parker’s been there making the college’s students prepared to give the world what it needs from them…preparation for professionalism in every way,” said Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63) who has worked closely with Middleton on a number of college initiatives, including, most recently, the Giving Voice to the Voiceless grants.

Middleton holds a Ph.D. from Franklin College and she is expected to receive an MFA degree in screenwriting in 2021.







A snapshot of good luck messages to Peggy Kreshel featuring
Bryan Reber, Kristen Smith, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Dean Krugman, Beth Avery Foster,  Elli Roushanzamir and Charles Davis.

A snapshot of good luck messages to Bill Lee featuring Chip Caray, Janice Hume, Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, Amy Sindik and Charles Davis.

A snapshot of good luck messages to Parker Middleton featuring Jeff Jowdy, Jody Danneman, Jennifer Sloan, Carolyn Tieger, Gloria Ricks Taylor, Charles Davis and Charlayne Hunter Gault.

Grady College celebrates retiring faculty Karen King and Leara Rhodes

Grady College proudly recognizes faculty members Karen King and Leara Rhodes as they embark on retirement.

Karen King, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, specialized in advertising media and campaigns. She began teaching at Grady College in 1985 and served two stints as advertising and public relations department head. King’s research centers around health communications and advertising industry issues.

Karen King (center front) and their campaigns students at the AAF competition in 1999 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo: submitted)

Prior to Grady College, King worked as a media planner, research supervisor for FCB Communications, Inc. in Chicago  and visiting researcher for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She earned her bachelor’s, graduate, and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

King recently established the Karen W. and Daniel J. King Distinguished Professorship in Advertising.

“Karen King’s contributions to the college span decades, and scores of students who have told me personally that she changed their lives,” said Charles Davis, Grady College dean. “I can’t tell you how many times an alum has written me or stopped me at a Grady event to tell me that Dr. King was “their” professor, that one who they stayed in touch with through the years, who they called with big news, and who helped shape their careers.”

Multiple generations of students have had opportunities in the advertising field because of Karen King’s dedication to connection current students to advertising industry professionals.

Some of King’s students, along with current and former colleagues, join in the celebration after she assumed the role of president of the AAA. King is seated in the front row. (Contributed photo)

“As much as I feel a part of Grady College and the University of Georgia, Dr. King feels a part of the Delta family,” said Tim Mapes (ABJ ’86), senior vice president and chief marketing & communications officer for Delta. “Dr. King has interacted with countless members of our advertising and corporate communications teams during student-led campaigns competitions and she embodies the open-minded, engaged, empathetic qualities we seek in our leaders here at Delta.  Not a day goes by at Delta in Atlanta that I do not draw upon my experiences in Athens.  In fact, I like to say that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us in leading Delta.  Dr. King’s shoulders provided me with an unshakeable foundation on which to build our brand and the communications that support it.”

Karen King connects students to professionals. Here, she welcomes Marni Shapirio (ABJ ’96) back to Grady for the Kennedy Symposium.

King has been a Lilly Teaching Fellow and is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA’s highest teaching honor, among other honors during her time at UGA.

“Karen King has been a strong voice to keep our advertising program a leader in the field,” said Bryan Reber, C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership and department head of advertising and public relations. “In addition to being a great media strategy and campaigns teacher she has been a proponent of, and often volunteers to lead, extracurricular enrichment programs.  Such programs give students a competitive edge entering the profession. It seems her devotion to the advertising profession, advertising education, and the University of Georgia advertising major really knows no bounds.”

King has served in leadership roles in a variety of national advertising organizations including president of the American Academy of Advertising.

“Instead of writing some long, fawning quote about Dr. King, just imagine me hoisting her up on my shoulders, handing her twenty dozen long stem roses and then parading up and down Broad Street with tears streaming down my face,” said Jason Kreher (ABJ ’00), creative director for entertainment and editorial at Wieden + Kennedy. “That should give you a pretty accurate picture of how I feel about her retirement.”

King begins retirement August 1, 2020.

Leara Rhodes (ABJ ’72), associate professor of journalism, retires from Grady College after 26 years as a faculty member. She focused her instruction on magazine writing, management and design.

Leara Rhodes celebrates with Michaela Patafio (AB ’18) at senior sendoff in 2018. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman/Grady College)

Rhodes was a freelance writer with published articles in many prominent magazines and newspapers. She also wrote for some of the nation’s largest businesses including Coca-Cola and Cox Communications. Rhodes authored three books including the latest, “Peace through Media.” She earned her bachelor’s degree from Grady College. Her master’s and doctoral degrees were completed at Temple University.

“Leara Rhodes, to many Grady students, is the face of narrative writing and of the world of magazines,” said Davis. “An eloquent, masterful wordsmith, her professional acumen and high standards help keep Grady journalism graduates at the top of their game. Leara’s selfless commitment to the college can be seen in so many facets of the program, from her advanced editing and production courses to her leadership in advancing issues of diversity and inclusion.”

One of Rhodes’ primary interests is the role media plays in societal development. She worked extensively in the Caribbean as a guiding resource for media outlets in the region. Recently, Rhodes launched “Caribbean Voices,” a podcast exploring the lifestyles and traditions of the Caribbean Basin.

Rhodes and students outside of Grady College in 2015.

“I can’t imagine the Journalism Department or Grady College without Leara Rhodes,” said Janice Hume, Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for excellence in journalism and journalism department head. “She taught experiential classes long before it was trendy, launching more than 40 magazines in her classes. She mentored so many writing students who have gone on to successful magazine careers. Her research earned her the Haitian Studies Association’s Award for Service presented to those who contribute beyond the usual to the Haitian community. She has been a wonderful colleague. We will miss her, but wish her wonderful adventures to come.”

Former students say Rhodes became a mentor to them through the writing process and publication development.

“It’s hard for me to put into words the impact that Dr. Leara Rhodes has had on my life,” said Ramsey Nix (ABJ ’99, MA ’06), freelance writer and part time instructor at Grady College. “She continues to erect signposts at pivotal points in my journey. She creates connections. She opens doors. Leara has defined the role of mentor for me.”

Rhodes has published three books in addition to her many published articles.
(Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Rhodes was the Journalism Teacher of the Year at Grady College in 2006. She was awarded the first UGA diversity award for advancing UGA’s mission of diversity. In 2004, Rhodes received the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship from the National Conference of Editorial writers for work in attracting minority students. Rhodes was also a 2007-08 UGA Service Learning Fellow. She has used her experience and knowledge to help students work cohesively in the creation of new publications.

“Her mentorship taught me so much about how a publication works, how to edit stories and work with writers, how to lead a team, and about health communication as a field,” said Aashka Dave (ABJ ’15), Researcher/Community Manager for the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. “Dr. Rhodes is so invested in her students, and I know other Grady classmates of mine feel similarly about the impact she had on our educations.”

Rhodes begins retirement June 1, 2020.

Hollifield, Hudson retire

Grady College is honoring the retirement of two of its journalism professors, Ann Hollifield, the former Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media research, and Tom Hudson, a senior lecturer in journalism.

“Both Ann and Tom leave holes in Grady, but also a lasting legacy of excellence and dedication to students,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism. Hume also serves as the Department of Journalism head.

Hollifield specializes in media management and economics, and taught classes focusing on media and broadcast station ownership and management. She also directed Grady’s graduate certificate in Media Analytics. In addition to studying domestic media ownership, she researched international communication policy and the effects of international copyright law and sustainability on the economies ranging from rural communities to developing nations.

Ann Hollifield is congratulated on her retirement by Dean Charles Davis during the a faculty reception May 1, 2019. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Hollifield served on the Grady College faculty for 22 years, working first as an assistant professor of telecommunications and the coordinator of the Michael J. Faherty Broadcast Management Lab. She earned her title of Dowden professor in 2008 and served as the Department of Telecommunications head from 2008 until 2014. As the Dowden professor, Hollifield not only directed the media analytics certificate, but also oversaw several international media forums, including the Media and Public Sphere International Conference in 2016.

“Ann Hollifield gave much to our college as a preeminent scholar in media management and economics and a popular teacher,” Hume said.

Hollifield won numerous awards for her teaching and research, including, most recently, the Top Faculty Paper at the 2016 AEJMC conference. In 2001, she was named a Senior Policy Fellow with the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs in Ohio.

Hollifield shows no signs of slowing her international travel and research in retirement. This summer she participated as a panelist in the plenary session at the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. Hollifield is married to Lee Becker, professor emeritus in journalism, who retired in 2017.

Hudson taught journalism courses at Grady College for 24 years, including news writing and lab, one of the core offerings in Grady’s journalism program. His research foci included writing methods of published authors, and he also taught classes in journalism ethics, magazine writing and editing.

Tom Hudson in 2002.

“Tom Hudson is a wonderful, kind teacher who guided so many journalism and public relations majors through their first reporting and writing course,” Hume said. “There is no telling how many students earned their first professional bylines with stories written for his class.”

In addition to teaching writing workshops around the Athens community, Hudson also spent time teaching at the Carnegie School of Journalism at the Pennsylvania State University prior to his position at Grady College. He worked several years as a journalist in Pennsylvania following college.

Among the accolades Hudson received, he most recently was the recipient of the Excellence in Journalism Education Award from the Department of Journalism.


Alexander, Castengera, Hazinski, Tinkham retire

Collectively, they represent 111 years.

That’s 111 years of educating students, collaborating with colleagues, sharing knowledge with peers, cheering on alumni after graduation and making Grady College a better place to work and learn. There are bittersweet feelings as we wish Alison Alexander, Michael Castengera, David Hazinski and Spencer Tinkham the best in their retirements.

Alison Alexander most recently served as Grady College’s senior associate of academic affairs, a position she has held since 2007.

Alison Alexander in the mid-1990s. Photo: Craig Poole

“It’s safe to say that were it not for Alison, I’d still be searching for the most basic answers about how to do my job,” Dean Charles Davis said. “She has been my touchstone on all things academic, providing such wise counsel and most recently guiding us seamlessly through the accreditation process. To say she’ll be missed fails to do her justice.”

Alexander joined Grady College in 1991 following teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts and TA positions at Ohio State University. Her research specialties have been in children’s television and audience research, and she has authored several books including “Taking Sides: Controversial Issues in Mass Media and Society” a book she co-edited with Jarice Hanson through 12 reprints. She served as editor of the “Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media” from 1989 to 1991, and also served on several university committees, including chair of the University Admissions Committee since 2010.

Michael Castengera and David Hazinski built Newsource into the learning laboratory that has served countless journalism students through the years.

Michael Castengera (r.) accepts the Darwin Davis Award for demonstrating the Grady spirit, from then Dean Cully Clark in April 2010.

Castengera, a senior lecturer, retired in December 2017.

“Michael taught his students how to be professionals and continually raised the bar with what he expected,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism, and head of the Department of Journalism.

Before his time in academia, Castengera spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist, including 5 years in newspaper reporting, followed by more than 20 years in broadcast news, mostly in news and station management. He brought his experiences in the field and his fascination with how politics is portrayed in the news to the classroom and to Newsource, which he helped produce for several years.

He continues to work in retirement as a station management consultant.

For 31 years, Hazinski has been a professor of Grady College, teaching digital and broadcast journalism.

“David has built Newsource from scratch, from spit and baling wire, and built it to be one of the premier broadcast centers in the country,” Hume said during a ceremony in April recognizing him as the Department of Journalism Teacher of the Year. “He is a force of nature and I cannot imagine Grady without him.”

David Hazinski in 1988, a year after he started teaching at Grady College.

Hazinski is a Kennedy Professor of New Media and was named this past spring a Top Journalism Educator by NewsPro Magazine. Hazinski also serves as the CEO of Intelligent Media Consultants, an international communications consulting and training company that has launched more than a dozen national television channels, including the first private and 24/7 news channels in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Prior to joining Grady College, he was the originating co-host, writer and technology advisor for “World Business Review with Caspar Weinberger,” and he served as an international correspondent for NBC News, based in New York, London, Washington, and then Atlanta. Hazinski holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in educational communications and technology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Spencer Tinkham, professor of advertising, has worked at Grady College for 37 years. Over the years, he has spent time teaching undergraduate courses in advertising research methods, management and campaigns. He has also taught graduate-level courses in advanced communication research and quantitative data analysis.

Spencer Tinkham and graduate student, Mary Lynn Hanily (PhD ’93), in 1993.

“Spencer Tinkham has been a devoted mentor to graduate students and junior faculty,” said Bryan Reber, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “He has been the go-to guy for any sticky quantitative research problem.  His advertising and political communication research have been very influential in those fields.  Perhaps most importantly, Spencer is one of the nicest guys on the planet.  He has been a departmental treasure these 37 years and we will miss him deeply.”

Prior to joining the faculty of Grady College, Tinkham taught in the Marketing Department of Columbia University Graduate School of Business, at the University of Illinois and as a visiting professor at the University of Florida. His research focusing on political communication, especially message and audience factors in persuasion, has earned him national attention including a ranking in the top 25 academic advertising researchers in the Journal of Advertising.