‘It Takes a Division’

VCU’s University Relations Wins 10 Public Relations Awards

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division of University Relations received 10 honors, including a prestigious “Best in Show,” at the 66th Virginia Public Relations Awards, an event of the Public Relations Society of America’s Richmond chapter that recognizes the most creative and effective communications strategies and tactics across the state.

In a ceremony Wednesday at the Jefferson Hotel, the division was honored for its superior communications work in 2012. These awards are lauded as some of the top public relations honors in the state.

"The work celebrated by these awards represents integrated marketing communications at its best – strategic, creative, cross-disciplinary and effective," said Pamela D. Lepley, APR, VCU's executive director of the Division of University Relations. "Most of these award winners involved the work of talented individuals across the university coming together to communicate VCU’s mission as a national research university in a crisp, compelling and thoughtful way.”

“For some, it takes a village. For us, it takes a division,” Lepley added.

The chapter presents two types of awards: Commonwealth Awards, which recognize complete public relations campaigns in 16 categories, and Capital Awards, which recognize public relations tactics, individual items or components of campaigns in 30 categories. Within each type, winners are recognized with either an Award of Excellence or an Award of Merit.

University Relations garnered four Commonwealth Awards, five Capital Awards and a Best in Show. The Best in Show honor awarded a strategic media relations plan to raise awareness of VCU research and expertise related to a study suggesting dogs in the workplace reduce stress among employees.

Commonwealth Awards

Award of Merit

  • Brief Events and Observances – “VCU ASPiRE Opening”
  • Internal Communications – “VCU CCTR Internal Awareness Campaign”
  • Reputation/Brand Management – “Virginia Commonwealth University Make It Real”


Capital Awards

Award of Excellence

  • Annual Reports – “VCU Medical Center Annual Report”
  • Creative Tactics – “VCU Rodney the Ram Mascot Reveal Campaign”
  • Editorials/Op-ed Columns – “Senior VP for VCU Health Sciences, Dr. Sheldon Retchin: U.S. Health Care Reform Op-Ed”
  • Internal Video Programs – “What is the Pulse of the VCU Pauley Heart Center?”
  • Media Relations – “VCU Barker Study: Benefits of Taking Fido to Work”

Award of Merit

  • Editorials/Op-ed Columns – “VCU President, Dr. Michael Rao: Institute for Contemporary Art Op-Ed”


PRSA Richmond is a professional association serving Central Virginia public relations practitioners. The chapter and the national organization, PRSA, are both marking more than a half-century of bringing professionals together to enhance the practice, to provide an exchange of experiences and ideals and to promote professional development.