New York, NY – Linda Rutherford, Chief Administration & Communications Officer at Southwest Airlines, will receive the 2022 Institute for Public Relations Lifetime Achievement Award for her significant contributions to the industry of public relations. Rutherford will accept IPR’s highest honor at the 60th Annual IPR Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on Dec. 1, 2022, at Current at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

The IPR Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an individual whose character exemplifies leadership through demonstrating the power of effective use of public relations and research while living the values of integrity, humility, and stewardship. The IPR Dinner and Awards Committee comprising IPR Trustees, past winners, and academic leaders in the field, recognized Rutherford’s long-time impact on and leadership contributions to the public relations field.

“Linda is one of the most talented and visionary people in PR. Her corporate and communications leadership and her passion for people and community have not only distinguished Southwest Airlines among its peers but have also shaped and evolved our industry in truly significant ways,” said Chris Foster, CEO of Omnicom PR Group, and chair of the IPR Dinner Awards Committee. “This award honors Linda and all the meaningful contributions she has made over her long and impressive career.”

Rutherford’s impact on the field of public relations began after graduating from Texas Tech and becoming a reporter for The Dallas Herald Times.  After meeting the people of Southwest, she joined the airline in 1992 as a public relations coordinator.

Linda has made extensive leadership contributions to the industry and society. She serves as a Trustee and was a past chair at IPR. She is a current Trustee with the Page Society. She is on the board of Make-A-Wish America, a member of the national advisory board for Texas Tech’s College of Media and Communication, and past chair of the Governance Committee of the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation.

“Linda’s leadership continues to be a force multiplier for our industry,” said Stacey Jones, head of corporate communications at Accenture and chair of the IPR Board of Trustees. “Her unfailing commitment to excellence and dedication to Southwest Airlines, her people and community is an inspiration to us all –and I could not be more delighted that Linda is receiving this recognition.”

Linda has been honored for her leadership excellence and her achievements in communications and civic involvement. Some of her recognitions include a distinguished alumni award from Texas Tech University in 2021; 2017 Citizen of the Year, Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce; 2016 Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year; 2016 PR Week named one of 36 Women Champions of PR; 2012 inductee into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame; 2009 inductee into the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications Hall of Fame; and 2008 inductee into PR News’ Public Relations Hall of Fame.

Tickets to IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner
Limited tickets for the IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner are available for $550 each. Sponsorship packages are available, which include tickets to the nearly sold-out event. The price includes a networking cocktail reception sponsored by The University of Florida, the awards dinner, and Distinguished Lecture. Visit the website to learn more about the 60th 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

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