GVSU alumnae receive national public relations award

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Delaney MacKenzie and Emily Gagnon Courtesy GVSU

Two Grand Valley State University advertising and public relations major program alumnae, Emily Gagnon and Delaney MacKenzie, were honored with the Public Relations Society of America’s National Gold Key Award.

It is the highest individual honor given to Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members.

“This is beyond humbling,” MacKenzie said, “I must, of course, credit the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter, Advertising, and Public Relations program and my outstanding adviser and friend, Dr. Adrienne Wallace, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to attain the levels of success I did.”

To be eligible for the award, applicants must be: a member of PRSSA for at least two years, a senior or graduate student (seniors can apply up to one year after graduation), have a GPA of least 3.4 in his or her major, hold a PRSSA Chapter or National leadership position, complete at least one internship, confirmed by a faculty or professional adviser and affirm their intention to become a PRSA associate member within one year of graduation.

Gagnon, who is a digital media specialist for LEAD Marketing Agency, was elected the CEO of GrandPR, Grand Valley State University’s student-run public relations firm.

MacKenzie currently is a communication associate for 8THIRTYFOUR, but while a student at GVSU, she served as the president of GVPRSSA.

During their time at GVSU, GVPRSSA received three Teahan Awards, three student life awards, and two pacesetter awards for exceptional projects, to name a few. Additionally, the chapter was named a Star Chapter for the eighth consecutive year under their leadership.

In her role as CEO of Grand PR, Gagnon managed the 12-client roster and the day-to-day activities of 33 student associates. While she was a member of GVPRSSA, Gagnon interned at Experience Grand Rapids and Steelcase, along with other organizations and companies. She was also the marketing coordinator for TedXGVSU, where she managed the social media platforms and connected the greater TED community with GVSU.

“Emily exemplifies what it means to blend academic achievement and leadership efficacy while making significant contributions to the campus, her community, PRSSA, PRSA and beyond,” Wallace said. “Emily’s commitment to her work, drive for success and natural leadership ability makes for a bright future not only personally but for the communications community at large.”

While at GVSU, MacKenzie was charged with maintaining an active relationship with GVPRSSA’s parent chapter, West Michigan Public Relations Society of America, served on the executive board of GrandPR and two internships. She was also a part of the Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition where she finished fourth place nationally.

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