The award will be presented
Thursday, Oct. 19, during a dinner prior to a new public relations lecture series honoring
James Bowling. Harold Burson, named "the century's most influential PR figure,"
will deliver the lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday in the William T. Young Library auditorium.
18, 2000 (Lexington, Ky.) The
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications today named Thomas L.
Tommy Preston the first recipient of UKs Lifetime Achievement Award for
Public Relations. Preston is chief executive
officer of Preston Global and founder and immediate past chairman of The Preston Group
The award, sponsored by the UK School of Journalism Alumni Association, will
be presented Thursday, Oct. 19, during a dinner prior to a new public relations lecture
series honoring James Bowling, a longtime UK friend and supporter who died in 1997. Harold Burson, founder and chairman of the
worlds largest public relations firm, is the first speaker in the James C. Bowling
Executive-in-Residence Lecture Series. The
lecture, at 8 p.m. Thursday in the William T. Young Library auditorium, is free and open
to the public.
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be given annually to an individual who has achieved
success in the field of public relations during his/her career. The person must be a native Kentuckian or must
have spent a large part of their professional career in the commonwealth. Retired Senator Wendell Ford will present the
award to Preston.
A native of Carrollton, Ky., Preston opened a one-person PR office in Lexington in
1968. From that point, The Preston Group grew
into a multi-disciplined firm attracting national and international organizations such as
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dow Corning, the U.S. Selective Service, Occidental Petroleum and
the eventual majority whip of the U.S. Senate and former governor, Wendell Ford. Preston served four years as Gov. Fords
special assistant, press secretary and commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public
In the mid-1980s, Preston developed a model for public relations contingency planning
and response against terrorism and workplace violence.
He formed Preston Global in 1996 to focus exclusively on aggressively
defiant crises facing corporations, institutions and individuals. Today, his firm provides an unusual blend of
disciplines, merging reputation and management with security, intelligence gathering and
analysis with facilities integrity and media education/training with litigation abatement.
A UK Fellow with a journalism degree from UK, Preston is the only Kentuckian to be
elected to the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America. He has received more than 100 state and national
communication awards from organizations including the International Film Festival, the
International Film and TV Festival of New York, the Gold Camera, the U.S. Industrial Film
Festival, PRSA, IABC, the Kentucky Press Association and National Editorial Association.
Tommy Preston has shown meritorious leadership capabilities during his long and
distinguished career, said Jack Guthrie, president of the Journalism Alumni
Association. Creating a firm that can
claim top-notch crisis management capabilities and be named one of the top 12 strategic
counseling firms in America by Inside PR is no small achievement.
The James C. Bowling Executive-In-Residence Lecture Series is being funded with a
$100,000 endowment grant from Joseph F. Cullman, 3rd, out of his admiration for Bowling. UKs Journalism Alumni Association is also
raising an additional $100,000 from alumni and friends of the university who knew Bowling.
The series will bring a nationally recognized public relations professional to UKs
campus each year and a scholarship in Bowlings name will be presented annually to a
senior planning a career in public relations or public affairs.