EMU PRSSA says goodbye to Eleanor Wright, a PR pioneer

Our hearts were saddened last week when we received word that Eleanor Wright, our Chapter’s namesake and longtime supporter, had passed away. We lost an icon and a public relations pioneer and innovator.

Ellie  passed away on Nov. 10, 2013. She left behind a husband, James A. Wright, two daughters and two grandsons.

Ellie was an ambitious and accomplished woman. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Her career spanned almost five decades during which she wrote for many newspapers, became a columnist, and in 1975, became an editor for the St. Louis County Observer.

In 1977, Ellie moved to Detroit where she helped found the public relations program for Lawrence Institute of Technology (now known as Lawrence Technological University), then became a roving editor for the Observer-Eccentric newspapers.

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Eleanor Wright is presented with the PRSA Detroit Hall of Fame award by EMU PR professor Lolita Cummings Carson and EMU PRSSA professional advisor Pamela Young

It was in 1979 when Ellie joined the English department faculty at Eastern Michigan University. She was instrumental in establishing the journalism major and began the interdisciplinary program in public relations. The public relations program became an official major at Eastern in 1986. Ellie also instituted a comprehensive internship program with the Detroit Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

In 1993, Ellie retired as an associate professor from Eastern and, nearly 20 years later, in 2011, she was honored to be named to PRSA Detroit’s Hall of Fame.

Our Chapter is deeply saddened by the loss of this remarkable lady, who contributed so much to our journalism and public relations programs at Eastern.

On behalf of all of us at Eastern Michigan University, in the public relations and journalism programs and in EMU PRSSA, we are sincerely grateful for all of her contributions to the department and the school. Because of Ellie, our students will continue to benefit from her outstanding leadership and contributions.

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One response to “EMU PRSSA says goodbye to Eleanor Wright, a PR pioneer

  1. Sorry for your loss. Ellie appears to have been a GREAT person — far ahead of her time.

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