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Ron Culp Receives 2020 Distinguished Leader Award from PRSA Chicago

Ron Culp receives Distinguished Leadership Award in Zoom ceremony
At a virtual ceremony on Dec. 3, the Chicago Senior Leaders Committee of the Public Relations Society of America recognized Ron Culp (center) with the 2020 Distinguished Leader Award.

The Chicago Senior Leaders Committee of the Public Relations Society of America recognized Professional in Residence Ron Culp with the 2020 Distinguished Leader Award at a virtual ceremony on Dec. 3.

The award highlights Culp's extraordinary career achievements and his dedication to colleagues, students and the public relations field. In receiving this award, he joins an elite group of industry professionals, including Maril Gagen MacDonald, founder and chairman of Gagen MacDonald, and the late Al Golin, founder of the Chicago-based Golin PR agency.

Culp, who serves as the graduate professional program director for the Public Relations and Advertising program, is a well-known leader in the Chicago PR community. His career spans across positions in government, Fortune 500 companies such as Sears and Sara Lee, and agencies including Ketchum and Sard Verbinnen & Co.

The virtual ceremony, now available to watch online, features remarks from Culp's former PR colleagues and members of the DePaul community. He received personal messages from former students, faculty colleagues, and DePaul leadership, including President A. Gabriel Esteban and Interim Provost Salma Ghanem.

“Ron has had a major impact on his students as well as his colleagues," Ghanem says. “He's a person who exemplifies what we all aspire to be – professionals with a strong sense of integrity, ethics and caring."

Since joining the College of Communication in 2012, Culp has taught a variety of career-focused courses that offer students real-world industry insights. He often brings guest speakers to class and visits PR agencies with his students, giving them valuable networking opportunities as they see what it's like to have a career in PR.

“You really get 'all access' when you are a student of Ron's. You get to see the workplace. You get to meet the communications teams. You hear about real projects they're working on," says alumna Jennifer Delgado.

Culp's experiential approach to teaching and learning plays a major role in the success of the PRAD master's program, which was named one of the top five public relations programs in the country by PR Week for six consecutive years.

“Ron is the type of professional who leads by example and who's always willing to help and mentor a young professional. I am very proud of the work that we've done together," says Maria DeMoya, an associate professor and program chair of the PRAD program.

Culp's commitment to PR and education led him to establish the Ron Culp Endowed Scholarship for Future Leaders in Public Relations. The scholarship will support first-generation students at DePaul as they pursue careers in PR. PRSA Chicago announced that they will make a generous donation to this new scholarship fund in honor of Culp's career legacy.

“It's certainly been my good fortune to be at the right place at the right ti​me with the right group of colleagues to help make great things happen for DePaul's PRAD program," Culp says.