New York, NY – The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) will award the IPR Pathfinder award to Marcia DiStaso, Ph.D., APR, professor and chair of the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, at the 2021 Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on December 2 at Current (Chelsea Piers) in New York City.

IPR presents this lifetime achievement award annually to an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions to the body of knowledge and practice of public relations through published research. The IPR Pathfinder Award committee, comprising IPR Trustees, past winners, and academic leaders in the field, recognized Dr. DiStaso’s commitment to research that matters to the profession.

IPR Trustee Dr. Terence Flynn, associate professor of communications management at McMaster University, said the committee selected Dr. DiStaso for the impact of her research contributions on the profession.

“Dr. DiStaso is one of the top researchers who focuses on research our field needs when it matters most,” said Dr. Flynn. “Throughout her career, she has been one of the leading scholars in social media research, including publishing landmark research projects on Wikipedia, financial and investor communications, and purpose. She has also been an outstanding leader in both professional and academic organizations, elevating our field through her work.”

Dr. DiStaso pioneered research in digital media, financial communication, and investor relations. She has won many awards over the years, dating back to her IPR Best Master’s Thesis Award in 2004. Some of her most notable awards include the 2020 PRNEWS Top Women in PR Award, the 2019 PRNEWS Educator of the Year Award, the 2019 PR Measurement Hall of Fame, and the 2016 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Educator of the Year Award. With her students, she won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence, Hermes Creative Awards, and MarCom Awards. She is an IPR Trustee and the director of the Digital Media Research Center. Before her position at the University of Florida, Dr. DiStaso was a tenured associate professor at Penn State University. She is also a member of the Page Society and served on the 2019-20 Global Alliance Board of Directors.

Dr. DiStaso has co-authored/edited two books, A Communication Guide for Investor Relations in the Age of Activism and Ethical Practice of Social Media in Public Relations. She has also published in multiple public relations, corporate communication, and mass communication journals, and has contributed chapters to books on digital media, crisis communications, and corporate reputation. Her current research primarily focuses on corporate purpose, or how companies create value for all stakeholders.

Tickets to IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner
Tickets for the IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner are available for $500 each. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $5,000 and premium tables of 10 are available for $10,000. The price includes a networking cocktail reception sponsored by SAIC, the awards dinner, and the Distinguished Lecture. Visit the website to learn more about the 59th IPR Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner.

About the Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, non-profit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at


Nikki Kesaris
Marketing and Communications Manager
Institute for Public Relations

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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