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Retired PR director earns top TCPRA award

Dennie B. Burke, retired executive director of Public Relations and Marketing at Austin Peay State University, received a top honor from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association (TCPRA).

Burke, who retired May 30 following 22 years of public relations service at APSU that spanned the administration of five presidents and one interim president, was presented with the Otis Floyd Jr. Award for Excellence in Administration during TCPRAs annual awards luncheon May 23 at The University of Memphis.
Dennie B. Burke, retired executive director of Public Relations and Marketing at Austin Peay State University, received a top honor from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association (TCPRA).

Burke, who retired May 30 following 22 years of public relations service at APSU that spanned the administration of five presidents and one interim president, was presented with the Otis Floyd Jr. Award for Excellence in Administration during TCPRA's annual awards luncheon May 23 at The University of Memphis.

The Hopkinsville, Ky., resident was nominated for the honor by her staff.
“As an administrator, she has demonstrated superior achievement in the public relations and communication industry, exhibited leadership throughout University and professional efforts and proven her extraordinary abilities and talents when called upon for any task,” staff members wrote in a letter of nomination.

Each spring, the TCPRA presents the Otis Floyd Jr. Award, established in honor of Dr. Otis Floyd Jr., the late chancellor for the Tennessee Board of Regents. The award is presented annually to a higher education administrator in Tennessee to recognize superior achievement in leadership, vision and communication.

Burke has written hundreds of press releases and alumni magazine feature stories in her role as executive director. Several of her magazine features have resulted in alumni making significant contributions and have won national awards in CASE, the Admissions Marketing Report and the TCPRA contests.

Her leadership in communication is known throughout Tennessee. In 1990, she wrote a printing and publishing handbook for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The publication, titled “Printing and Publishing for Colleges and Universities,” was adopted statewide by all state colleges and universities.
In June 1995, she was featured in CASE Currents magazine in an article that focused on how campuses organize their PR offices effectively. She has presented at several state and national PR meetings, conferences and panel discussions.

Also at the awards luncheon, APSU's weekly electronic newsletter for faculty and staff, titled InnerAction, received a Bronze Award in the Electronic Newsletter category. The e-newsletter is designed by Melony A. Jones, communication specialist in the Public Relations and Marketing Office, and features all of the press releases issued the previous week. Jones also serves as secretary of TCPRA.

Formed in 1975, the TCPRA is an alliance of communicators who represent many of Tennessee's public and private colleges and universities, two-year technical schools, technology centers and community colleges and work to define higher education in the state. -- Melony A. Jones