Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Alan Scott, professor emeritus in the Department of Journalism, College of Communication, died August 23, 2001. He was 88.

Dr. Scott taught public relations and advertising at The University of Texas at Austin for 34 years until he retired in 1983. He and his wife of 61 years, Sybil, moved to Austin in 1949, from Lansing, Michigan, where he had taught at Michigan State University. Ten years later, Dr. Scott became the first full-time public relations educator in the country, and by the mid-1960s he established one of only six on-campus public relations clubs nationwide. These clubs became the foundation for what soon would be the Public Relations Student Society of America, today’s leading pre-professional student organization.

Dr. Scott was one of four public relations educators to endorse the creation of the student society in November 1967. On April 4, 1968, the Public Relations Society of America’s Board of Directors created the first PRSSA chapters at nine universities that met charter requirements, including offering a minimum of two public relations courses. UT was one of these “alpha” chapters, and was named the Alan Scott chapter, the first after a person. Dr. Scott used to joke that had there been e-mail in 1968, UT would have been the first university to be chartered, and not Ohio State University, because the mail reached national headquarters in New York City faster from there. The two courses Dr. Scott created were Principles of Public Relations and Public Relations Campaigns, the first and last courses UT public relations majors take today. In the late 1960s, Dr. Scott added a third course to the curriculum: Public Relations Writing. He created the first student-run public relations firm called the High Noon Agency, because it met at noon during the Public Relations Campaigns course. In the early 1970s, PRSA named Dr. Scott Educator of the Year, and PRSSA named the Alan Scott chapter the Best in the Country. He was a member of PRSA’s distinguished College of Fellows. Over the years, Dr. Scott arranged for public relations students to visit public relations firms and departments from Austin to New York City to Honolulu. The picture accompanying this memorial shows Alan and Sybil in the middle of the back row with a group of UT students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Scott was a strong believer in the value of professional experience, and always looked for opportunities to expose students to the practice of public relations.

He co-authored one of the leading introductory textbooks on the discipline, This Is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, with his former student and professor of public relations at Texas Christian University, Dr. Doug Newsom. The text is in its eighth edition.

Dr. Scott earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri, and his doctorate in education from The University of Texas at Austin. He worked as a reporter for the Associated Press in Columbia, Missouri. He is a founder of the Texas Public Relations Association and for 15 years was its Executive Director.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Scott is survived by two children and three grandchildren.


Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Ronald B. Anderson (chair), Wayne Danielson, and S. Griffin Singer.