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Former Campbellsville University vice president Marc Whitt publishes new book on public relations

By Joan C. McKinney
Campbellsville University

Marc Whitt, former vice president for communications at Campbellsville University who was named an honorary alumnus of Campbellsville University in 2003, has published his first book titled “PR Lessons Learned Along the Way — Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional.”

Whitt’s book achieved the “#1 New Release in Public Relations” spot at Amazon Books June 1-5 and has been named by Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) to its “Recommended Reading List.”

Marc Whitt (Photo from Campbellsville University)

Whitt is a 35-year veteran of higher education and nonprofit public relations. He and his family lived in Campbellsville 11 years. He is a former president of the Campbellsville and Taylor County Chamber of Commerce.

Whitt is director of media and strategic relations at the University of Kentucky Office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications and is a part-time instructor at UK’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication.

The book’s foreword is written by nationally respected higher education journalist, Melissa Ezarik, senior managing editor of the national trade magazine “University Business” of which Whitt was former PR and marketing columnist.

Written in a conversationalist tone, the more than 20 chapters cover topics such as program leadership and management, crisis communications, social media, earned media, storytelling, philanthropy and donor communications, town and gown relations, branding, event planning and more.

Whitt “has written a book filled with strategies, tips and advice addressing pertinent topics for those in higher education or nonprofit public relations,” according to a news release from Adam Turner, president of Cherrymoon Media, a publisher based in Lexington.

“Interspersed throughout the book are many of the career lessons Whitt said he has personally learned and experienced during his career,” Turner said. “He has taken these experiences and insights and shares them with the reader in an open, honest, inspiring and insightful way.”

“PR Lessons Learned Along the Way” is written in a conversational tone, he said. “That was intentional on Marc’s part and true to his personality and character.

“He wants the young, mid-career or senior professional to feel as if they are sitting down with him over a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea talking shop as they learn from one another. Not only do I believe he has successfully captured this in the book, but so do many in the public relations profession who have reviewed it.”

Larry D. Lauer, vice-chancellor emeritus of Texas Christian University, and author of best-selling “Advancing Higher Education in Uncertain Times,” said of Whitt’s book:

“I have been looking forward to the day Marc Whitt would share his wisdom in a book. Marc has always been a leader in our field, no matter his institutional or professional association role. His casual writing style makes this book a real treat to read, and I suggest you keep it on your desk for quick reference.”

During his nearly 35 years in higher education, Marc’s work has achieved measurable results garnering over 40 honors including back-to-back Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Silver Medal Awards for Total Institutional Relations Program. He also served as Kentucky’s CASE president in 1994 and, in 2005, he won CASE Kentucky’s highest award, the Beth K. Fields Service Award for Leadership in Advancement.

In 2015, he received the James C. Bowling Excellence in Public Relations Award. Presented by the UK Journalism Alumni Association and UK Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, the award is given to the “outstanding public relations practitioner with ties to Kentucky.” That same year, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Communication.

Recently Onalytica, a firm that identifies social influencers, named him among the “Top 100 Public Relations Influencers on Twitter;” he was ranked 21st.

In previous years, Whitt has served on the Association of American Colleges & Universities Advisory Council on Communications and Public Affairs (two of his eight years as national chair), the CASE District III (Southeast US) Board of Directors and the International Town & Gown Association Board of Directors. He has consulted organizations such as the Christian Appalachian Project, The National Association of Music Parents and Witnessing History Education Foundation, among others.

Whitt earned a Master of Arts Degree (1985) and Bachelor of Arts Degree (1982) from Eastern Kentucky University.

Whitt, a native of Paintsville, and his wife, Jennifer, live in Richmond, and are the parents of three children: Emily Fields (Mark); Elizabeth Muncie (Christian); and Jacob; and the grandparents of Annaleigh and Aubrey Fields.

Joan C. McKinney is the director of the Office of University Communications at Campbellsville University.

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