A Higher Ed Calling

Beyond Releases and Brochures

In 1978, Long Island University invited Hershey to join a group of faculty and alumni restoring the George Polk Awards in journalism, suspended two years before. He remains a juror and an organizer of the annual Polk symposium and awards luncheon in New York.

A lecturer in journalism at Baruch College and LIU, he returned to his alma mater as University Director of Public Relations in 1985, establishing an operation still in place today. He later changed the face of institutional communications at Colby College in Maine and Reed College in Oregon, streamlining the way each elite liberal arts college tells its story to key constituencies. But his most telling contribution to collegiate marketing came at Cornell. He and his staff built a four-member communications unit into Cornell Publications and Marketing, a self-sustaining agency with more than 30 employees that recovers $2 million in annual costs and provides an extraordinarily diverse range of services to hundreds of clients across the campus and beyond. At his 2005 farewell reception in Duffield Hall, Cornell’s gleaming nanotechnology center, Hershey noted that his office had collaborated on the facility’s planning, worked on government site approvals, promoted the project and informed the campus and community of its progress, distributed a news supplement to every household in the area celebrating its opening, and mounted a museum exhibition in the hall’s atrium. It illustrated, he said, that campus communicators “do more than write press releases and brochures.”

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Hershey built a tiny strategic communications unit into full-scale campus agency at Cornell.