The Department of Journalism National Writing Award and Schranz lecture series are just two of the many opportunities you’ll have to learn from those at the top of their industry. Past speakers include two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rukmini Callimachi, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, and Tina McCorkindale, president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations.

Schranz Lecture Series

Founded in 1979, the Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations is the nation’s longest running public relations lectureship and has brought some of the most prominent public relations leaders to campus. Speakers provide insight into public relations trends and creates a forum for new ideas among Indiana’s public relations practitioners, faculty, and students.

The Ball Corporation started the series in 1979 in honor of Schranz, the company’s first public relations officer, and an advocate for higher education. Schranz often shared his expertise with students and endowed an undergraduate public relations scholarship through a gift of Ball Corporation stock.

Ball State Journalism’s 41st Annual Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations featuring:


Dr. Karla K. Gower

Director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and Behringer Distinguished Professor in the Advertising and Public Relations Department of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama.


Tuesday, April 14
L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ballroom
Free and open to the public


Karla K. Gower, Ph.D., is the Behringer Distinguished Professor in the Advertising and Public Relations Department of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. She has served as director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations since 2008.

Karla practiced law in Canada for eight years before moving to Arizona in 1992 to attend Arizona State. She worked in public relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona during the Clinton administration’s attempts at health care reform, in internal communications and media relations at GateWay Community College and was part of a three-member team of writers in the Office of University Development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Karla is the author of PR and the Press: The Troubled Embrace (2007), Legal and Ethical Considerations for Public Relations, 2nd ed. (2008), and Liberty and Authority in Free Expression Law: The United States and Canada (2002). She is also co-author with Richard Lentz of The Opinions of Mankind: Racial Issues, Press and Propaganda in the Cold War (2010). She has published articles in such academic journals as Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Communication Law & Policy, Journal of Communication Management, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

Karla holds a doctorate in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in mass communication from Arizona State University, and law and bachelor degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

The Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations, the nation’s first endowed public relations lectureship, is proudly hosted by Ball State University.

Ball Corporation of Muncie, Indiana established the lectureship in 1979 to recognize 25 years of outstanding service for its first public relations officer, Vernon C. Schranz. A native to Minnesota, Schranz (1915-90) joined the Ball Corporation in 1954, and eight years later became the company’s first director of the newly organized public relations department—one established on the principles of openness, honesty and community service.

Schranz was active in the community and business affairs, serving as a member of the boards of directors of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Hillcroft Services (formerly DSCS), the Family Counseling Service and the Newman Foundation of Ball State University. He also served as chairman of the Ball State Center for Economic Education and as vice chairman of the Muncie Human Rights Commission.

At the time of his retirement in 1979, Ball Corporation honored him with the establishment of the Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship at Ball State. Since its inception, the series has brought national leadership in public relations to the Ball State campus and has achieved the status as one of the preeminent lectureships in public relations.
Schranz visited the classrooms as a guest lecturer himself and demonstrated his interest in public relations education by endowing an undergraduate public relations scholarship through a gift of Ball Corporation stock.

The lectureship has built a reputation for providing content necessary for the growth and development of the public relations field. It offers an examination of the developing status of the public relations profession and creates a forum for the expression of new ideas and concepts. It serves as a professional development opportunity for Indiana public relations practitioners, faculty and students.

Supported by Vernon C. Schranz and family, the Vernon C. & Mary H. Schranz Public Relations Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate public relations major who demonstrates exceptional potential in their prospective field. Scholarship recipients are recognized at the annual Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations in the fall.

  • Emily Gralak 2017-2018
  • Haley Gustafson 2016-2017
  • Hannah Riffle 2015-2016
  • Brittany Noe 2014-2015
  • Kelsey Kotnik, 2013-2014
  • Jacob Kluth, 2012-2013
  • Lily Barker, 2011-2012
  • Alison Barnes, 2010-2011
  • Jenny Pyle, 2009-2010
  • Samantha Adamczewski, 2008-2009
  • Melissa Nobbe, 2007-2008
  • Melissa Nobbe, 2006-2007
  • Jennifer K. Rice, 2005-2006
  • Beth-Allison Lazaros, 2004-2005
  • Amber Bauer, 2003-2004
  • Amanda Goings, 2002-2003
  • Dawn New, 2001-2002
  • Wendy Wolfred, 2000-2001
  • Jaclyn Shubert, 1999-2000
  • Jeff Harris, 1998-1999
  • Rachel Allen, 1997-1998
  • Angel Soyrou, 1996-1997
  • Angel Soyrou, 1995-1996
  • Todd Wetzel, 1994-1995
  • Jennifer Dolce, 1993-1994
  • Sonya Popp, 1992-1993
  • Rebecca Scheiman, 1991-1992
  • Susan Warren, 1990-1991
  • Julie Willis, 1989-1990
  • Debra Hayes, 1988-1989
  • Raschanda Hall, 2018
  • Fred Cook, 2017
  • Tina McCorkindale, 2016
  • Kelli Parsons, 2015
  • Robert Hoopes, 2014
  • Merrie Spaeth, 2013
  • John D. Graham, 2012
  • Lisa Baird, 2010
  • Robert Grupp, 2009
  • Peter Debreceny, 2008
  • John Paluszek, 2007
  • Maj. Gen. Mari Eder, 2006
  • Cheryl Procter-Rogers, 2005
  • Marilyn Laurie, 2004
  • Willard D. Nielsen, 2003
  • Christopher Komisarjevsky, 2002
  • Bradley Wilks, 2001
  • Daniel J. Edelman, 2000
  • Lord Chadlington, 1999
  • Tim Traverse-Healy, 1998
  • Betsy Plank, 1997
  • Terrie Williams, 1996
  • Paul H. Alvarez, 1995
  • John W. Felton, 1994
  • Ann Barkelew, 1993
  • Fraser P. Seitel, 1992
  • Robert Dilenschneider, 1991
  • Carole M. Howard, 1990
  • John F. Budd Jr., 1989
  • James L. Tolley, 1988
  • David W. Ferguson, 1987
  • Denny Griswold, 1986
  • Kerryn King, 1985
  • Patrick Jackson, 1984
  • Chester Burger, 1983
  • Philip Lesly, 1982
  • Dorothy Gregg, 1981
  • Douglas Hearle, 1980
  • Edward Block, 1979

Since 1960, Ball State University’s Department of Journalism has presented the National Journalism Writing Award to honor a print journalist’s work during the prior calendar year. The award is presented each spring alongside other department and alumni awards. The National Writing Award Lecture Series features a range of industry leaders who share and connect with the Ball State Journalism community.