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 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.”
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 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.”
“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 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.
“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.